May 6, 1922-Nov. 23, 2013
Frances Bohannon Nelson, family matriarch and Peninsula real estate icon, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 after a brief illness.
Born in Oakland, California in 1922, Frances was the eldest daughter of the late Ophelia Bohannon and legendary real estate developer David D. Bohannon.
Frances graduated from UC Berkeley and began working with the Bohannon companies in 1943, where her leadership guided the successful growth of Bohannon Development Company since being named president in 1975.
Among many significant accomplishments, a major triumph in her business life included the expansion and enclosure of Hillsdale Shopping Center in 1981, amid a daunting economic recession. Not defined by her business acumen alone, as a devoted wife to husband Howard Nelson, Frances parented three wonderful children, Patricia Atassi, Linda Davis and Steven Nelson. Smarter than your average bear (no Cal pun intended), she remained a true lady, while succeeding in a manís world.
Balancing work and family, Frances also established an extraordinary record of philanthropic service. She served as Regent and Trustee of Santa Clara University, she was on the Board of Governors of the Urban Land Institute and the Advisory Board of Peninsula Volunteers, she was Honorary Chairman of the Capital Campaign for the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Mateo County, and generously supported Planned Parenthood and womanís reproductive rights, notwithstanding her staunch support of the Republican Party.
Frances was voted into the San Mateo County Womanís Hall of Fame in 1990. In her leisure time one might have found Frances trying new recipes in the kitchen or fishing and hunting with her family on expeditions to Alaska, Canada, Cabo San Lucas, India and Africa. Frances is survived by daughters Patricia Atassi and Linda Davis, and grandchildren Tarek Atassi, Jennifer Davis, Blair Nelson and Eric Nelson.
A resident of Woodside for 55 years, Frances is predeceased by her husband Howard Nelson, sister Barbara Carleton, brother David E. Bohannon, son Steven Nelson, and grandson Ramzi Atassi.
A celebration of her life will be held on January 27, 2014 at the Peninsula Golf and Country Club. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations should be made in her name to Planned Parenthood, 1691 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126; Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, 750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose CA 95125; or a charity of your choice.