(Phoenix, AZ) - This week Arizona lost a prolific community leader, loving wife and mother, cherished friend, and champion of equality after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Nelda Majors was a vivacious force of nature who will be missed by all of us at ONE Community and the countless lives she touched in her lifetime. She was the wife of Karen Bailey, her partner of over 65 magnificent years, as well as mom and guardian to great nieces, Marissa Diamond and Sharla Curtis. Nelda was a remarkable advocate on behalf of others and is a central part of the inspiration behind the ONE Community Unity Pledge, the largest equality pledge in the nation, that continues to inspire support for equal protections for LGBTQ+ people in Arizona and across our nation in housing, employment and public accommodations.
In 2013, Nelda and Karen had been a couple for over 50 years when they traveled to Washington, D.C. to rally in support of equal marriage. Nelda and Karen were brave representatives, speaking in favor of marriage on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court during the United for Marriage Coalition rally. Their love story is Arizona’s love story as they served as the face of marriage equality in Arizona and our nation. In 2014, Nelda and Karen bravely paved the way for marriage equality in Arizona, joining six other couples to sue the state over its ban on gay marriage. That same year, after gay marriage was legalized in Arizona, Nelda and Karen officially exchanged vows – more than five decades after their love story began.
In 2012, ONE Community had the honor and privilege of sharing the inspiring love story of Karen and Nelda, detailing their journey and love for each other and their family. “Nelda was like a mom to so many of us and her enduring love story with Karen has and always will be pivotal to the evolution of ONE Community’s story,” said Angela Hughey, Co-Founder and President of ONE Community. We are honored and privileged to have been part of her extraordinary journey and we will continue to be like Nelda, welcoming everyone and treating all people with dignity and respect,” she added.
About Nelda Majors:
Nelda was born in 1938 in Houston, Texas. She is a University of Houston graduate with a degree in sociology and physical therapy. Nelda was an outstanding athlete and played softball from 11 years until her 30s. She is a hall of fame fast pitch pitcher and received many awards during those years. Nelda graduated from Herman School of Physical Therapy and started her own business contracting with hospitals to provide physical therapy. Her business started with one hospital and one outpatient department in Houston and when she retired, she had contracted with 33 hospitals in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Please join us in mourning and celebrating the loss of a role model, friend, and confidant. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to ONE Community Foundation or one-n-ten.
Details about the celebration of life will be forthcoming.