Former Heights LIbraries Director Rachel Wayne Nelson Dies Age 96

Obituary courtesy Shapiro Funeral Home

Mar 13, 1925 – Jan 12, 2022

Rachel Wayne Nelson of Shaker Heights died on January 12, 2022. She was 96. A career librarian, passionate literacy advocate and lifelong learner, she was a dedicated public servant.

Rachel was born March 13, 1925, in Cleveland OH to Milly and Harry Wayne. She attended Western Reserve University on the cooperative program receiving a BA degree in 1947 and a Masters in Library Science from Case Western Reserve in 1948. Her career spanned 45 years of service beginning at the Case Public Library in 1943, moving on to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights library in 1954 and from which she retired in 1988 after having served eleven years as the Director.

During her career Rachel was also active in state and national library organizations including serving as the President of the Ohio Library association in 1983. Rachel was also committed to Library sciences education serving as a guest lecturer at Kent State University and Case Western Reserve University schools of Library Science, was the editor of the Ohio Library Association Bulletin for three years and authored numerous articles on libraries. She was the co-author of “Libraries and Marketing Do Mix” and “Best in the Nation – The first 200 years of the Ohio Libraries.”

Rachel was inducted into the Ohio Library Hall of Fame in 1975. In 2018 she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cleveland Heights – University Heights Library.

Her public service extended beyond her library career and included serving as the President of the Historic Area Chamber of Commerce, the Adult Education Council of Greater Cleveland, the Women’s National Book Association Cleveland Chapter as well as being a life member of the National Council of Jewish Women. Even after retiring Rachel remained a dedicated volunteer in the community including acting as an interim Director of the Children’s Museum for a year, serving on the boards of Project LEARN, as the chair of the Global Issues Resource Center for four years and terms on the Rainy Institute Board, and also as its President, and also on the Board of the Fund for the Future of the Heights Libraries.

Rachel is survived by daughters, Barbara Nelson (Mandy Carver) and Beverly (Murray) Comer, grandson Michael (Meghan) Comer, 3 great grandchildren (Alex, Maya and Max), sister-in law Jane Wayne, nieces and nephews Erica (Lou) Jacobs, Harry (Elaine) Sargous, Stuart (Debbie) Wayne, Jeffrey Wayne, Harriet Selman and Justine Wayne, and many adored and adoring great nieces and nephews and great – great nieces and nephews, as well as a global network of friends

She is predeceased by her husband of 37 years Bernard (Barney) Nelson, her parents Harry and Milly Wayne, and her siblings Rosalyn Polster, William Wayne, Flora Sargous and Sam Wayne, and niece Ursula Bamnolker.

Rachel was known to her family as Pupi and will be remembered for her love of all things purple, pansies, pitchers and pumps. A celebration of life ceremony will be scheduled in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Rainey Institute, 1705 East 55th St., Cleveland, Ohio 44103. (216) 881-1766.

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