SUNRISE, JUNE 21, 1968 - SUNSET, DECEMBER 16, 2023

SUNRISE, JUNE 21, 1968



Reverend Dean Brode Nelson, 55, passed away peacefully on December 16, 2023 after a brief battle with cancer. He was born on June 21, 1968 to Eugene Nelson and Zelma Nelson (Anderson). In 1976, the family moved from Falls Church back to their beautiful hometown of Marshall, Virginia, where Dean grew up surrounded by the love of his parents, siblings, and grandparents, as well as countless aunts, uncles, and cousins. He attended Fauquier County Public Schools, where he ran track and played football. He was a member of Salem Baptist Church under Pastor Wendell Grant, where he dedicated his life to the Lord at the age of thirteen, and later a part of Faith Christian Church under Pastor Decker Tapscott.

Rev. Nelson graduated from Fauquier County High School in 1986 and attended the University of Virginia. During his time at UVA, he became part of New Generation Campus Ministries (NGM) under the leadership of Bishop Garland Hunt and Bishop Wellington Boone. Upon graduating from UVA in 1990 (BA, Rhetoric and Communication), he entered full time ministry becoming the deputy director and then national director of NGM.

After marrying fellow NGM member Julia in 1996, the couple moved to Atlanta where they had three children, continuing in campus ministry and assisting Bishop Boone and Bishop Hunt with the Father’s House church. In 2005, they returned to the Washington, DC area to advocate for pro-life and pro-family causes, leading to his longtime employment with Human Coalition, where he rose to become the Vice President of Government Relations, and to his work as the Senior Fellow of African American Affairs at the Family Research Council. During this time, he also founded the Douglass Leadership Institute in 2015 to equip faith leaders especially in the African American community to apply Biblical principles to life and the marketplace. His servant heart, patience, and cheerful demeanor enabled him to work with a diverse array of groups including the United Way, NAACP, Prison Fellowship, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Urban League, and TeenPact Leadership Schools. He appeared regularly in a variety of media outlets, including MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, USA Today, CBN and EWTN.

In 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Rev. Nelson to serve on the Congressional Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission whose mission was to honor the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass.  In 2023, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin appointed Rev. Nelson to the Board of Visitors for the University of Mary Washington. He was the recipient of numerous awards including the RNC Black Republican Trailblazer Award, The Church of God in Christ World Missions Partnership Award (DLI), AFPI’s Champion for Life Award, and many others.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 27 years, Julia (Yim) of Montgomery Village, Maryland; daughters Michaela and Amani of Rockville, Maryland; son Brandon of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; father Eugene Nelson of Marshall, Virginia; brother Barry Caison of Ft. Washington, Maryland; sisters Andrea Nelson Gaines (Robert) of Marshall, Virginia; Greta Summerville (Darrian) of Gainesville, Virginia; Aislyn Epperson (Dwight), of Bristow, Virginia, as well as six nieces, nine nephews, and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

– 2 Corinthians 5:8

The Homegoing Service Details are as follows:

Cornerstone Chapel
650 Battlefield Pkwy SE
Leesburg, VA 20175

Service: 12 Noon - December 28th, 2023
Viewing: 11am - December 28th, 2023

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