People of Etowah – Iva Nelson


Name: Iva Nelson

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born in Gadsden and have lived here my entire life.”

What is your occupation?

“I am City Clerk for the City of Gadsden.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“I was looking for a better job opportunity and a friend asked if I had ever considered working for the city.  I had not, but after a very short time of consideration, I applied for a job in the clerk’s office. I fell in love with working in the public sector and as they say, “The rest is history.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I have been married to my husband, Dale, for over 37 years. He was a long-time dis-patcher with Alagasco. We have one son, Justin, who has been married to Jessica for 14 years, and they have given us one precious granddaughter, Evie.  She is six years old and attends kindergarten at Mitchell Elementary School. My father, Joe Patty, is deceased and worked for many years at Goodyear Warehouse. My mother, Iva Patty, retired from Regions Bank and cares for my brother, Mike.  I don’t have any pets right now, but have had several beloved dogs in the past.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“I wish I could say that my day starts with stimulating exercise. I have done this in the past and hope to do so again. During the week, I wake up around 6 a.m. and am due at the office by 8 a.m. My workday is very unpredictable, but that keeps it really interesting – I am never bored or “caught up.” One consistent event in the weekly schedule is city council meetings each Tuesday. The length of my day varies, and sometimes I can become very productive when the office closes at 4:30 p.m. Maybe I could be a good cook if I really tried, but Dale and I enjoy eating out during the week. I try to reserve Saturday for relaxation, getting things done around home, and family time. I participate in a ladies prayer breakfast one Saturday each month. I provide music through song and the piano to my church, Covenant Fellowship, each Sunday.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I have the distinction of being the first graduate of Coosa Christian School and was the only graduate of 1977. The school was founded in 1972 with classes topping out in the eighth grade. A grade was added each year until the complete high school was finally established. I happened to be in the uppermost grade and class membership fluctuated up and down, mostly down during my senior year. I enthusiastically gave the valedictorian speech at my graduation and was voted “most likely to succeed” and “class favorite.” High school reunions are very easily organized!”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I must admit, the older I get, the more I seem to enjoy sitting on the couch. I like to read and play games, and I try not to indulge too much in Candy Crush and Pet Rescue. Naturally, I love having “girl time” with my granddaughter and have recently started giving her piano lessons. I’ve played a lot of tennis over the years and also enjoy playing an occasional round of golf.”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“I think my greatest accomplishment is being able to live a very stable lifestyle, which might appear boring to others, and I take great pleasure in normal, everyday experiences. I don’t really think that I can take the credit, but I’m very proud of the man (and father) that my son has become. He gives me great hope for the next generation.”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“I can’t name just one person because I’ve had a number of influential people in my life. It began with my parents, who taught me the importance of having good character traits like honesty and integrity and being faithful to your commitments. My piano teacher, Mrs. Martin, was very dear to me and cultivated my love for music. Martha Elrod was a mentor to me from the moment I entered the clerk’s office, always lending her support and encouragement.”

To what do you credit your success?

“I have truly been blessed by God and He has placed me in the right place at so many times and in so many circumstances. He has given me many opportunities and my desire is to remain true to His calling in my life.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“I am currently serving on the Emergency Food and Shelter Local Board for United Way and have worked in past fund-raising campaigns. I volunteered as a “big” with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and with Junior Achievement for a number of years.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“My favorite thing about this community is the willingness of people to come together in times of emergency to help those in need. We have a great volunteer base of individuals and organizations who give of their time and resources.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“I’ve observed that people who move to Gadsden from other places are extremely impressed with the beauty and positive aspects of our area. I would like for everyone to recognize these things and have more pride in what we have to offer.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Contented, accepting and dependable.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I am an introvert. People don’t believe me when I say that, but I override a lot of my natural tendencies with doing what I need to do.”

What is on your bucket list?

“To travel to new places. There are very few that I wouldn’t consider to be interesting. I’d also like to return to some of my favorite destinations, like the Hawaiian islands.”

What is your hidden talent?

“My hidden talent is to appear calm and remain somewhat calm, even if my mind and heart are racing with nervousness.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Really, really enjoy the people in your life, because you never know how long they’ll be around. Soak up all those leisurely summers, because when you start working, you’ll never have that much free time.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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