Olivia Hamilton Nelson

What was your high school mascot?

Manatee High School Hurricanes. I graduated Class of 1970. I wanted to be a cheerleader so I could do all the flips and tosses in the air.  I practiced with them but was not chosen so I joined the Pep Squad and cheered from the stands. That year my friend Clovia Byrd made history when she was chosen by the entire student enrollment as the first black Homecoming Queen. 

What’s your connection to Bradenton?

I was born in Flemington, Marion County, FL and moved to Manatee County as a very small child. My father, Curtis Blunt Sr., worked for Kwik-Check (it’s now Winn-Dixie). When he got a job transfer, he and my mother moved the family here so we could have more opportunities.

I’ve lived all over Florida: Bradenton, Clearwater and Orlando, as well as outside of Florida in Connecticut, Mississippi, and Colorado before retiring from Orange County government and coming back to Bradenton to care for my parents.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a mathematician. My father taught me all about math and I liked it. Everything my father did I wanted to do. He was the most amazing man, father, and prayer warrior I have ever known. He was a World War II veteran (Rank Sgt.) who served in the Pacific.

In addition to working full-time, he managed Blunt Photography, where he and mother would take peoples' photos on special occasions and then hand-tint them based on my mother's vivid descriptions of every detail and color.  Mother was the heart of our home and my father also took great care of his family and loved us all so much.

What did you do when you grew up?

After college I got married. We owned and operated a plumbing, heating & cooling company. I worked at the West Hartford Public Library and then went into accounting, working at several firms in the Hartford area. So I guess I was a mathematician in a way! When I came back to Florida, I found a good job in Orlando with law enforcement. I worked for 23 years there in everything from booking at the jail to undercover work.

How did you get started volunteering with Realize Bradenton?

My neighbor and Real Estate Agent Geri Kenyon recommended I get involved. So far we’ve worked at the Blues Fest and enjoyed it. It’s so nice to have volunteer opportunities right here in downtown within walking distance.

Where else do you volunteer?

Currently I attend church but don’t volunteer anywhere else at the moment.

What do you love to do so much that you lose track of time while you’re doing it?

Attending church and reading my Bible and other good books. I always have a list of books. Two of my recent favorites are: “Four Things Women Want from a Man” by A.R. Bernard; “Listen up, Beloved, Good News for Your Spirit” by Thelma Wells. On my list to read are: “Street Witness with a Testimony” by Damekio Gardner; “Second Chances” by Pat Smith; and “My Life on a Plate” by Kelis. When I’m not in church or the library, I’m into sports (football, tennis, golf, and basketball) and riding my purple bike around downtown.

Name a few of your favorite places in downtown Bradenton.

I’ve lived downtown for 3 years now and I really like it - much more than I did when I left in 1970. I enjoy riding my bike on Riverwalk, it’s amazing to get clear over to 16th Street East now. There are great restaurants on Old Main Street. I’m always at the (Central) Library. I haven’t been over to see Snooty lately, but I should, I remember visiting him at the old marina! (Snooty moved in from the municipal pier to the South Florida Museum in 1966).

Batman or Superman?

Neither. My heroes are my father Curtis Blunt, Sr. and my husband - my King Boaz, my friend, my confidante, my WOW man, - Jerry “Ropeman” Hamilton Nelson. Who needs Superman with men like these in my life!