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Grant John Nelson

February 22, 1927 November 13, 2019
Grant John Nelson
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Obituary for Grant John Nelson

Grant John Nelson, aged 92, died on November 13, 2019 in Nampa, Idaho, after a short hospitalization. He was born on February 22, 1927 in LaGrande Oregon to David Eugene and Beula Bell Ashby Nelson. His dad and uncle had a contract stacking lumber there. When he was four, his family moved to Dietrich, Idaho, where he spent the rest of his growing up years. His parents had a farm there, and Grant grew up doing all kinds of farm work.
He played high school basketball and football, but never claimed to be a star athlete. His high school was very small, but he liked to remind us that he finished fourth in the class of 1945. We won’t mention how many were in his class. He managed to date, and later marry, the salutatorian of his class, Dorma Lee Beckley. They married on April 3, 1947 in the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and honeymooned in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah.
For a couple of years they lived and did farm work in Dietrich and Murtaugh, Idaho, and in Cary, Idaho for a short time. Their first two children, Rodney and Christine, were born in Idaho. They then moved to Salem, Oregon, where Grant joined the Carpenters’ Union as an apprentice. He worked on houses, commercial buildings. dams, bridges, and schools in the area, before moving to Benton City, Washington in 1952. He was a union carpenter for the rest of his working life. In 1953, he built a one-room 20’x24’ frame building on their 70-acre property in Warden, Washington, which became the family home for the next 8 years. While living there, Grant built a much larger home next door, which the family moved into in 1961. With six kids by then, the move was very welcome. Grant farmed part-time and did construction work most of the year while they lived in Warden. Their next four kids, Lance, Darcy, David, and Jeff, were born in Washington.
In 1968, the family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, for “the summer.” The whole family loved it and voted to stay, and the “summer” lasted about 19 years for Grant and Dorma, and much longer for some of the kids. They loved Alaska, and Grant successfully hunted moose and caribou, (sometimes on a snowmobile) enjoyed gardening with their grandkids, and travelling to various locations in the area. Grant did construction work in various parts of Alaska, including years on the construction of the Alaska Pipeline in the 1970’s. He worked in temperature as low as 40-50 degrees below zero.
When they left Alaska in 1987, Grant worked in California and Nevada for a few years, before he retired in 1989. Grant and Dorma then served as full-time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the San Francisco, CA area. They then moved to Caldwell, Idaho, where they had earlier purchased property for what was to become their home until Dorma died in 2011, and he later sold. They made several friends throughout these years and Middleton 1st Ward become and remained very dear to them.
Grant was a dedicated and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving in many callings and is especially remembered as a great hometeacher. In his later years, he and Dorma served as ordinance workers in the Boise Temple. After Dorma lost her sight because of diabetes, Grant continued to serve for a while, and after her death, served again. His last assignment was in the new Meridian Temple. Grant lovingly cared for Dorma while she was blind the last eight years of her life.
Among the many challenges they faced in their lives, some of the hardest were losing their oldest son, Rodney, to a job-related accident when he was only 23 and a new father. They lost a grandson, Dakota, after only a few days of life. They also lost their daughter Christine, in 2007.
Despite facing tough times, Grant was always an upbeat, optimistic person who loved people and was always willing to help someone in need. He was talented at conversing, even with perfect strangers, and often discovered common acquaintances within a few short minutes. He could remember the names of people, and most of their relatives, even when he hadn’t seen them for decades. It was mesmerizing to witness this. He loved traveling and seeing new places and things. In Washington, he found a 1949 school bus and converted it into the earliest version of a motor home. His oldest son, Rodney, had his high school shop class paint it bright red with a white top. Dorma sewed red and white checkered curtains, and the family spent many weekends camping around eastern Washington.
Dad was not, by any stretch of the imagination, musically talented, but he loved some kinds of music. He and mom loved to watch the Lawrence Welk show, a tradition, he continued religiously right up until his death, sometimes to the dismay and chagrin of his children and grandchildren.
When he sold his place in Caldwell, at age 90, he bought a Honda side-by-side four wheeler, which he loved to take on rides with a group of temple worker friends. They rode all over Idaho and did annual week-long trips rock-crawling in Moab, Utah. Nothing was more exciting or satisfying for him than those trips. His last ride was about a month before his death.
He was loved, and will be missed by many family members and friends.
Grant is survived by his sons, Lance (Laura) of Olympia, Washington, David of Nampa, Jeff (Cheryl) of Dillon, Montana; his daughter Darcy van Straten (Robert) of Washoe Valley, Nevada; and his daughter-in-law Connie Tinsley Nelson Baker (Rodney) of Phoenix, Arizona. His grandchildren, Derek Nelson, Shane Christensen, Dustin Christensen, Tosha Dion, Sariah Tanner, Janey Estes, Cassidy Christensen, Jessica Nelsen, Taylor Nelson, Shannon May, Rodney van Straten, Ryan van Straten, Mandy Ellis, Owen van Straten, Mysha Baker and Crystal Nelson. 42 great-grandchildren (one on the way) and soon to be 9 great-great-grandchildren!

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11:00 AM 11/23/2019 11:00:00 AM
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

18463 Northside Blvd
Nampa, ID 83687

Viewing from 9:30 to 10:45 AM at the Church prior to the services.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
18463 Northside Blvd Nampa 83687 ID
United States

Cemetery Details


Middleton Cemetery Final Resting Place

23660 Cemetery Road
Middleton, ID

23660 Cemetery Road Middleton ID
United States

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