Cover photo for Deborah Kemler Nelson's Obituary
Deborah Kemler Nelson Profile Photo

Deborah Kemler Nelson

December 29, 1945 — November 13, 2023

Newtown Square, PA Formerly of Swarthmore, PA

Deborah Kemler Nelson

Deborah Janet Glaser Kemler Nelson, 77, a longtime resident of Swarthmore, PA who recently moved to White Horse Village in Newtown Square, passed away on November 13, 2023.

Born in Boston, MA in 1945, she was the daughter of the late Maurice S. and Frances R. (née Lappin) Glaser.

She was a 1963 graduate of Newton South High School, a 1967 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Pembroke College, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, and a 1972 graduate of Brown University where she earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She was additionally granted an honorary Doctorate by the University of Richmond in 2006.

Deborah was Emeritus Professor of Developmental Psychology at Swarthmore College and Centennial Chair Emerita. She was a prominent, well published researcher in child development and cognition, a mentor to many, and served on countless professional committees and editorial boards. She was awarded numerous fellowships, and was a member of the American Association of University of Professors, the Jean Piaget Society, Sigma Xi, the Society for Research in Child Development, the American Association of University Women, and the American Psychological Society.

She was a puzzle enthusiast, with an astounding knack for crosswords. She was always well informed, clear with her voice, and a skilled writer. She enjoyed novels, the arts, and fine dining. She was a spectator sports fan, and in her younger years she played tennis and sailed. She smiled the most when sitting in conversation with family.

Deborah was the beloved wife of Larry A. Nelson; loving mother of Stacey Ferry (Mark), Matthew Nelson (Kendy Radasky) and Jordan Nelson; devoted grandmother of Jack Ferry, Ben Ferry and Eliot Nelson; dear sister of Susan Glaser and the late David Glaser. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be sent to Longwood Gardens, P.O. Box 501, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Deborah Kemler Nelson, please visit our flower store.

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