Skip to main content

Nellie S. Birdsall

Nellie S. Birdsall, 91, of Huntington, passed away at 2:42 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, at her daughter's residence. 

Nellie was born on March 21, 1931, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Robert Elser and Dora (Saunders) Elser. She graduated from Chambersburg High School with the class of 1949 and then went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Education at Huntington College and later earned her Master’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Counseling both at Indiana University Fort Wayne. While at Huntington College she fell in love and married Russell H. Birdsall on Sept. 3, 1951, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. They shared sixty-nine years of marriage before he preceded her in death on February 3, 2021. Nellie retired from Huntington Community School Corporation after 22 years of service. She was a faithful member of the College Park Church in Huntington. 

Nellie and her husband were missionaries from 1957-1968 for the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in Sierra Leone, West Africa. After retirement they continued their missionary work in Jamaica and Macau. She was a believer in giving back to the community as a volunteer teacher in the Huntington Jail and serving on the alumni board for Huntington University. Nellie enjoyed cooking for others and planning dinners. She always welcomed anyone to stay at their home for a night or an extended period. Nellie was a true servant of the Lord and truly had a giving heart. She had a special bond with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and looked forward to their time spent together making treasured memories. 

Survivors include her daughter, Sharon K. (Kevin) Cherry of Huntington; two granddaughters, Amy Marie (Andy) Wiebe of Bornheim, Germany, Allison Cherry of Huntington; three grandsons, Ryan (Katie) Cherry of Chicago, Illinois, Jason (Michelle) Cherry of Lakeside, Montana, Andrew (Kayla) Cherry of Newport, Michigan; eleven great-grandchildren, Andy Matthew Wiebe, Alec Wiebe, Austin Wiebe, Aaron Wiebe, Adele Wiebe, Benjamin Cherry, Isabella Cherry, Brielle Cherry, Adalyn Cherry, Nora Cherry, Eliza Cherry; brother, Theodore (Barbara) Elser of Dagsboro, Delaware. She is preceded in death by her husband, Russell Henry Birdsall, father, Robert H. Elser, mother, Dora E. Elser, brothers, Robert Elser, Jack Elser, Walter Elser, sisters, Louise Elser, Dorothy Ramsey, Mary Gamble and Martha Misner. 

Visitation will be from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, at Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN. Funeral services will be held at 12:00 pm Saturday, January 21, 2023, at College Park United Brethren Church. There will be one hour of visitation prior to the service. She will be buried next to her husband at Marion National Cemetery in Marion Monday, January 23, 2023 

Preferred memorials to Huntington University or United Brethren Global, in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN, 46750. 

Please sign the online guest book at

Bailey-Love Mortuary is honored to serve the family of Nellie S. Birdsall.