Germon, Rachel

Credit: File

Credit: File


Rachel Nelson Germon, 87, of Cary, North Carolina, passed away peacefully Friday, April 23, 2021 at Transitions LifeCare Hospice Facility in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was predeceased by her parents - Leroy D. Nelson, Sr., Evelyn Nelson Phillips; husband - Charles L. Germon; daughter - Jan G. Tomlinson; brother - Leroy Nelson Jr. She is survived by her grandchildren - Michael M. Boddicker of New Market, Maryland and Bradley W. Boddicker of Apex, North Carolina; great-grandchildren - Zeke, Charles, Daniel, and Matthew Boddicker: sister-in-law - Elisabeth A Nelson.

Raye was born on August 11, 1933 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Her father's Navy career took her family to various parts of the country in early childhood. Her family eventually settled in Lithonia, Georgia, where she met her husband, Charles L. Germon on the campus of Georgia Tech University in Atlanta. Charles' work took them to Huntsville, Alabama, then back to Georgia, before settling in Gaithersburg, Maryland where they raised their only daughter, Jan, and became grandparents. After the passing of her husband, Raye moved to Fairfax, VA to finish out her professional career.

Raye had a lifelong interest in mollusks - clams and snails. She started at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Division of Mollusks in 1976, first as a volunteer, and then as a Museum Specialist. During her time at the museum, she was responsible for the rehousing and updating of the world's largest mollusk type specimen collection. She was well known for her hospitality to numerous visitors to the mollusk collection and library over many years, and her extensive outreach work to the public. Raye was honored by her professional colleagues who named four new species of marine snails after her and retired in 1999.

After retirement, Raye soon returned to Georgia and purchased a home in Madison. She spent her time gardening and visiting with her brother and sister-in-law who lived close by in Covington. She was also able to reconnect with her lifelong best friend Jo Madison of Atlanta. Raye later moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to be closer to her daughter, Jan. After losing Jan in 2014, she moved to Cary, North Carolina to be closer to her grandson, Brad, and his family where she spent that latter part of her life.

Donations in Raye's memory can be made to the Smithsonian Institution, Invertebrate Zoology Endowment: