Obituaries

Alice Lynn Massey Nesbitt

Miss Alice Lynn Massey Nesbitt, 50, passed away from complications of a stroke on Palm Sunday, March 24, 2013, at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston. 

Miss Nesbitt was a fifth-generation Houstonian, a seventh-generation Texan and a fifteenth-generation American. She was the daughter of Mrs. Ernest V. Nesbitt II (Massey—DeEtte DuPree) of Houston and Marion Massey. With her mother’s second marriage, in 1971, she gained a second father, Ernest Van Nesbitt II.

 

She was the granddaughter of Alice Lula Cade DuPree Foster and Raymond Benjamin DuPree of Houston. Both the Cades and DuPrees have played a prominent role in Houston society and civic affairs for the past four generations. Miss Nesbitt was the great-great-granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Robert Cade (Ann Mortimer) of Houston, and of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clay Fuller of Nacogdoches, Texas. Her great-great-grandfather Cade settled in Houston before 1870, when Houston was still considered a small town. An innovator and designer of private railcars for the Southern Pacific Railroad, he was a prominent Mason, elected the 16th Master of the Gray Lodge 329 A.F. & A.M. His name has been perpetuated in the Cade-Rothwell Lodge 1151 in Houston. He was a leader in the Episcopal Diocese and co-founded the first St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Originally from England, Mr. Cade was the first immigrant to serve as president of Mechanics Building and Loan Association, which had offices throughout the United States. The Cades lived in a substantial Victorian house which was saved from demolition by the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Mr. Cade and his family were honored by inclusion in Houston: 1860-1900 (Images of America), by Ann Dunphy Becker (Arcadia Press, 2010).

 

Miss Nesbitt’s great-great-grandfather Henry Clay Fuller was the editor of the Nacogdoches Texas Daily Sentinel for many years, and also a writer of western novels. His wife, Alice Gertrude Lea Jones Fuller, formerly of Amite County, Mississippi, was a descendant of the Clay, Lea, and Leigh families of Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia. Mrs. Fuller’s second cousin Clement Comer Clay was a 19th-century governor and later a United States senator from Alabama. Another Clay cousin was the famous orator Henry Clay of Kentucky. 

 

A life member of the Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1624/5, Miss Nesbitt traced her American ancestry back to 1613 in Jamestown, the cradle of our country. Her early proven Virginia ancestors, who helped develop the first colony of the New World before 1625, were John Clay, Richard Pace, and Samuel Maycock. Her fifteenth great-grandfather was a member of the First Legislative Assembly of 1619. Captain John Clay and Richard Pace each owned large plantations covering thousands of acres. 

 

Miss Nesbitt’s grandfather Raymond Benjamin DuPree’s maternal grandfather was Thomas Worsley of Philadelphia. Mr. Worsley and his young partner, Joseph Fels, founded a prosperous soap company. Under Mr. Fels’ leadership, the company became known as Fels-Naptha, and in later years began shipping its products all over the world. After selling his interest to Mr. Fels, the elderly Mr. Worsley became an active member of the Society of the Sons of St. George, founded on St. George’s Day, April 23, 1772, in Philadelphia. He was a patron of the arts, becoming a collector of paintings and antiques, some of which, including portraits of him and his wife painted by the celebrated artist Thomas Sully, still remain in the family. On Mr. DuPree’s father’s side, he was descended from numerous prominent families who settled in old Charleston, SC, such as the Alstons, DuPres, Gaillards and Simons. Miss Nesbitt was honored with life membership in the Society of First Families of South Carolina, 1670-1700.

 

Miss Nesbitt attended the University of Houston and received a degree in psychology in 1988. She was immediately hired as a social worker and continued her work in this field until she took early retirement in 2011 due to declining health.

 

Dedicated to the cause of animal welfare and an active supporter of organizations that shared her concerns, Miss Nesbitt would often remark, “I have always loved animals.” Her activities on their behalf included walking homeless shelter dogs and promoting events encouraging the adoption of abused cats and dogs. She leaves behind her beloved animals, Puddin Poo, Holly, Pearl and Tigger.

 

A voracious reader of poetry and herself a talented poet, she had written a privately published collection of poems. At the time of her passing, she was in the midst of assembling another collection of poems.

 

Miss Nesbitt was a lifelong Episcopalian and in later years attended St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Houston. The Rev. Mother Barbara Lewis of St. Andrews officiated at a private church service including the Holy Eucharist for Miss Nesbitt. The chapel overflowed with many of her friends and colleagues. Her sensitivity, her knack for friendship, and her keen mind and sense of humor will be sorely missed by those fortunate to have known her.

 

In addition to her mother and stepfather, she is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. M. Nesbitt (Suzanna Puglia), and niece, Miss Luna J. Nesbitt, all of Houston.