Dennis Evert Nelson of Ferron, Utah, died of natural causes on July 30, 2017, at a care center in North Logan, Utah. He was 91 years of age. He was born on December 24, 1925, in Miller Creek, Utah.
Dennis was the son of Charles Foster Nelson and Rhoana Henrie Nelson. He was raised in Ferron. He often expressed gratitude for a full and happy life.
Dennis excelled in his formal education which included South Emery High School, earning bachelor and master degrees at Utah State University following World War II, and receiving a Professional Diploma in Education from the University of Wyoming in 1966. But his education was further enriched by many experiences and opportunities throughout his life.
He learned to work hard in his youth. He and his brothers worked with their father operating a saw mill - cutting trees, hauling them off Ferron Mountain in horse-drawn wagons and later in trucks, and cutting the trees into boards. He still found time in high school to be the drum major for the marching band. He won numerous baton-twirling competitions and led the band to excellence.
Dennis was a natural leader. He was sophomore class president, served as president of the FFA and won first place in a regional public speech meet. Dennis lettered in softball, basketball and track.
He met the love of his life, Claris (Keddy) Johnson, when she moved to Ferron. The mutual attraction was immediate.
Dennis enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Chicago, Oklahoma and California. He was a radio technician, mess cook, bus boy, member of a wrecked plane salvaging crew and a guard.
While on leave Dennis married Claris on August 24, 1945, in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their marriage brought a lifetime of romance, hard work, teamwork and adventure, which included their six children.
To support his family, Dennis tried his hand at a wide array of jobs. He and his brothers went from town to town selling Foster's Famous Flavors, worked as a mechanic and fluorescent light salesman. He also worked in construction, was a park ranger and prospected for uranium ore. He built a house using lumber he cut and hauled off the mountain.
After earning his bachelor's degree, Dennis taught school, and served in administration as a principal, supervisor and superintendent. His traits of kindness, fairness, respect and the ability to see both sides of a situation blessed the lives of students, parents, teachers, school district employees and the community.
One of his lifelong goals was to make every encounter a positive one - with a cashier at the grocery store, the local Board of Education, a group of disgruntled teachers or a frustrated parent.
His family has always been his top priority. The Nelson home was filled with love, respect, frugal abundance and fun. He and Claris created adventures on a shoestring budget - river trips, camping and excursions on Ferron Mountain, road trips, talking around the dinner table and teaching life lessons to his children using daily experiences.
Claris died on November 18, 2001. Dennis married Martha Nelson on January 1, 2004. They were later divorced.
He is survived by five of his children: Dana (Larry) Yonk, Ilene (Dave) Hatton, Bevan (Marci) Nelson, Lori (Chip) Hewlett, Julie Nelson; son-in-law Wayne Thorsted; his brothers: Vorace, Orvel and Evan, and his sister Joyce Stevens; his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife Claris (Keddy); his daughter Jeanne Thorsted; his brothers Bazel and Kerry; 3 grandchildren: Jenny Hatton, Chela Hatton and Clint Yonk; a son-in-law Quinn Hunsaker.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 12, at the Ferron Utah Stake Center, 555 South 400 West, at 11 a.m. Viewings will be held Friday, August 11, from 6-8 p.m. at Fausett Mortuary, 720 North Center Street, Castle Dale, and Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the stake center. Interment will follow in the Ferron Cemetery entrusted to Fausett Mortuary of Emery County. Family and friends may sign the guestbook and share memories of Dennis at www.fausettmortuary.com.