Pamela Frances Nollen died at the age of 63 on Wednesday, November 25th, 2020 after a courageous three-and-a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Pamela was the third child of Josephine Buzga and Frederick Nollen. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio on February 13, 1957. During her youth, she lived in Hubbard and Dayton, Ohio and McLean, Virginia before moving to San Antonio, Texas in 1971.
She graduated from Douglas MacArthur High School in 1975. She married H.H. Bethune in 1982 and they had two sons, Kenneth Nollen Bethune and Christopher Allen Bethune. The family moved to Rockport, TX in 1988 where they owned and operated Ancient Oaks Campground until 1998. Pamela actively managed the campground doing everything from mowing and weed eating the 18-acre park to writing the monthly newsletter. She was heavily involved in the local campground owners association and took great pride in her efforts to ensure that the parks were treated fairly in property tax and water rate disputes with local government. During this time, she also served on the school board at Sacred Heart Catholic School.
In her late 30’s, she decided to return to school to finish her college degree. She was successful in this endeavor, graduating from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 1997 with honors with a B.A. in Business. Making this feat more impressive was the fact that she accomplished it while managing the campground and commuting with her children to Corpus Christi each day so that they could attend Incarnate Word Academy.
After her divorce, she and her sons returned to San Antonio where she spent time as a substitute teacher, before earning a teaching certificate in 2000 and spending one year teaching language arts at Poth ISD. She eventually found her way to Home Depot, working her way up to become an accomplished kitchen and bath designer. She retired in 2016 and moved to Beeville, TX in 2018.
Pam was a constant presence at her children’s sporting events, providing endless support and encouragement even if she did not happen to know the rules or strategy of any game. During their time at the campground, she would spend hours hitting pop flies to her sons in the backyard and she was always happy when she could find time to swim laps in a pool.
Her favorite things in life were her grandchildren, gardening, cooking, writing poetry and silently correcting people’s grammar. She had beautiful handwriting and a gift for the written word. She welcomed her first grandchild in 2015 and had the opportunity to meet her newest grandchild in the fall of 2020. She kept a garden that provided delicious produce and beautiful flowers. She loved the bugs and birds that her garden attracted, with a particular fondness for hummingbirds. She enjoyed documenting these visitors with photographs. She and grandson Henry spent many hours cultivating a worm farm to keep her garden healthy. She enjoyed cooking and baking and her culinary abilities were appreciated far and wide. Always up for a challenge, she recently developed an interest in making authentic Japanese-style ramen with great success. She also enjoyed the occasional glass of pinot noir.
She traveled extensively with her children and grandchildren in retirement. She spent time in the Scotland, Wales, England, Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Italy and Argentina in addition to numerous domestic destinations.
Pamela was a model of perseverance. A quiet warrior she often dealt with hardship without letting on to what she was really going through. Her calming presence was a gift to those around her. She was a wonderful mother, sister, daughter and friend and a true role model who will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
She is predeceased by her father, Frederick Walter Nollen Sr.; her brother, Larry Nollen; her second husband, Chris Vanderkolk; and her stepdaughter, Chandra Shear.
She is survived by her mother, Josephine Buzga Brewster; her two children, Kenneth Nollen Bethune (Eveline) and Christopher Allen Bethune (Devon); her four grandchildren, Henry Harlan Martin Bethune, Caroline Josephine Frances Bethune, Maverick Bronson Bethune and Sophie Margaret Bethune; and one step-grandchild, Levi Cash Laven. She is survived by her siblings, Frederick W. Nollen II (Margaret), Thomas Nollen (Janet), Robert J. Nollen, Sr. (Becky) and Melissa Hastings (Scott). She is survived by her nieces and nephews, Erick Nollen, Jacob Nollen, Patrick Nollen, Erin Nollen Stout, Loryn Fowlkes, Robert J. Nollen II, Ariel Nollen, Katelyn Hastings and Clinton Hastings II.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020 at Galloway & Sons Funeral Home located at 409 N. Tyler St., Beeville, TX. A memorial service will be held there at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2020, with a reception to follow at the Beeville Country Club.
Honorary Pallbearers will be her sons, brothers, brother-in-law Scott Hastings, and nephews Robert J. Nollen II and Clinton Hastings II.
We would request that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Pamela F. Nollen Fund at St. Philip’s Episcopal School, 105 N. Adams, Beeville, TX 78102, which the family is establishing to provide scholarships and support to the students of St. Philips to honor Pamela’s commitment to education.
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