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Clelia June Runyon Nelson was born on January 26th, 1929 in Casper, Wyoming to Clelia Lucille Dyke and Santy Runyon and passed away on November 5th, 2023 in Dallas, Texas at the age of 94.
Born in Casper, Wyoming, June Runyon, traveled as a young child with her touring theatrical family. Her late father and mother, "Santy" Runyon and Clelia Lucille Dyke, took their little daughter with them on a quest for fame as a Jazz musician during the Big Band Era. June often spoke fondly of sleeping in her father's baritone saxophone case behind the bandstand.
While Santy played jazz with the greats of the time, Clelia, an actress, found roles where she could and accompanied silent movies. The family settled in Chicago, where Santy worked for ten years as an arranger and conductor for the Chicago Theater. There, Little Junie would sit weekly, watching all the Biggest Stars of the stage perform their acts.
As a girl of about eight, she moved to Tulsa with her Auntie June Runyon. She continued her study of dance in The June Runyon studios where she began her dance teaching career at the age of 16. June graduated Tulsa high school and went on to study art at the University of Tulsa where she met Marque Nelson and married him. They moved to Oklahoma City, started a family, had three children and moved to Dallas in 1964.
June had many skills in the arts, but most notably in dance. She danced and taught for 66 years until the age of 82. Her favorite style was tap dancing, but she acquired a reputation for being a wonderful ballet teacher. Mrs. Nelson taught at many fine studios, Buster Cooper's, Texas Ballet Theater Dallas Campus, Harkness Foundation School, Kingsbury Studio, Hockaday girls’ school, Oklahoma City ballet, Dance Variations DC, and was Certified through Grade V in the Cecchetti Method.
She opened 3 of her own studios, The Academy of Dance and Fine Arts in Dallas County where she taught ballet, jazz, tap and modern. She was also a top-notch ballroom instructor having been recruited by Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire studios to move to NYC as a young woman and teach in their studios there. She declined that opportunity in order to raise her young family in a stable home. She provided many opportunities for her children to study music and dance. All three children became professionals in theatrical pursuits and other outstanding professions.
Mrs. Nelson served in many capacities for years in their church since joining about 1957. June had many friends and mentored students in the Dallas dance community, probably numbering in the thousands. She loved costuming, choreography, cooking and entertaining with a wonderful artistic eye. She made friends easily and always had a joke to tell. She was loved by many in her residential and dance community and will be remembered as the one and only "MISS JUNE"!
Clelia June was preceded in death by Her Father Clinton Alfred "Santy" Runyon, mother Clelia Lucille Dyke and her husband Marque Nelson.
Survived by her three children, Marque III, Eric and Dayna; 9 nieces and nephews, 8 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
There will be a "Celebration of Life" the day following June's 95th Birthday; Saturday, January 27, 2024; location TBD. All of her family, friends and dance family are invited to come and participate.