Nelson F. Sheets
Nelson F. Sheets
Professor Sheets retired May of 1998. The following tribute honored Professor Sheets at his retirement dinner.
Potawatami, German and Irish, a child from the wrong side of the tracks.
At age six he was invited to a Sunday School where he learned that "Jesus Loves Me". Learning to love as Christ loved has been a mark of his life to this day.
At 16 when his Indian mother, who feared doctors, had a blood clot in her leg, he trustingly prayed for God to heal it. He was assured that the blood clot was gone. When his father returned from the hospital to report that the blood clot truly was gone, he could only say "I knew it".
As a sophomore in college, which was a miracle as well, he prayed for God’s direction. He clearly was aware of a call to Christian Education. This call has led him to public school teaching, and college teaching.
God brought Ruth into Nelson’s life when she changed colleges in her senior year. They met early in that year, were engaged on Valentines Day and were married at the end of that school year. They have been partners in obedience for 37 years.
After graduation Nelson taught high school while working on his Master’s degree in speech. Then in 1965 he began a nine year teaching assignment at Indiana Wesleyan, in Speech and Sociology.
During a two year return to school, he earned a second Master’s degree, in Social Work. Then served as a social worker and administrator in social work in the State Mental Hospital.
The call came from Point Loma, to teach Speech and Sociology. He was here only two years when his Department Chair, Ken Fry, retired. He became the only full time professor in Sociology. Many came in to help, Cecil Miller, George Reed, Tom Gobel, Ann Jones-Wilson. Alex Lievanos and Harold Young. During his this time, courses in Criminal Justice were added and Social Work expanded. It was a time of expansion of the major in Sociology into three emphasis. Between 1991 and 1998, two other full-time and one half-time professors have been added.
Nelson is praised for his caring and his ability to influence students to reassess their prejudices. His gracious, willingness to work with Nursing, Human Environmental Sciences and Education has led to cooperative programs.
Nelson is an individual who recognizes the need, and the joy, of continuous spiritual and intellectual renewal. He reads widely, he shares books he discovers, he is interested in studying broadly, and prays "without ceasing".
Nelson, the man of integrity, reflects the love of Jesus, in his love toward students, toward colleagues and to any in trouble. A man, who humbly continues to listen to God’s voice and has continued to grow as a man of prayer. We are enriched as he has prayed for his colleagues and their families, for the department, for the students, for the administration for the University.
Even in making the decision that retirement was essential, even though unplanned, Nelson only wanted to follow in obedience. Nelson believed God’s promise to "give hope and a future… when you seek me with all your heart".
Ruth Bullock, Chair, Department of Sociology quoted Jeremiah 29: 11-14 as a verse that best represents Nelson F. Sheets to her.