Dean McClain Nelson passed away peacefully at the age of 84 on Saturday, November 10, 2018, in Boise, Idaho, of natural causes surrounded by his loving family.
Dean was born in Genola, Utah, on November 4, 1934, the first child of Hyrum and Estella Nelson. At the age of five, they moved to Santaquin, Utah, and lived there until 1941 when World War II started. They then moved to Las Vegas while his father worked as a carpenter helping to build a munitions plant.
Dean tells the story of moving to Las Vegas with all five family members in the cab of a pickup truck with their house trailer hitched behind. They were almost to Las Vegas when the wind got so strong that it blew the house trailer over onto its top. His dad had all the safety chains hooked so that when the trailer went over, the chains pulled the pickup over with it. Five people were upside down in the cab of a small truck; fortunately, no one was hurt. He remembers that the clothes that were in suitcases in the back of the truck were now scattered across the desert.
In October of 1942, they returned to Santaquin and then back to Genola in 1944, where his father purchased a farm. They had a four-room house that was built of rocks collected from the farm and had cement floors. The only heat was an oil-burning stove in the living room and the coal burning stove in the kitchen. He always referred to his days in Genola as living on “Poverty Hill.”
The family moved to Provo, Utah, in March of 1951. During the summer, Dean worked at Dugway Proving Grounds as a laborer on a construction project and earned enough money to buy his first car, an ugly white 1941 Ford two-door sedan. He thought it was really cool.
In December of 1951, his parents purchased a motel in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he finished high school. After graduation, he worked in the grocery business until December 1953, when Dean and two friends - Conroy Adams and Myron Robbins - decided to enlist in the Army on December 9, 1953. After basic training, he was given orders to go Germany and assigned to Company A, 899th Tank Battalion, 3rd Armored Division, stationed in Hanau, where he worked as a communication specialist.
After his service, he attended college at Brigham Young University. He started out to be an engineer, but soon found that he was much better at accounting. While at BYU, his friend David asked if he would like a blind date with a friend of his from Nampa, Idaho. He remembers he had just had a blind date a few days before that had turned out to be a disaster and was not really excited about another try. After some arm twisting, he agreed. This is where he met Eda Gates, and it turned out to be the best blind date ever. They were married for time and all eternity in the Idaho Falls temple on June 18, 1958.
They lived in several places during their early married years including: Walla Walla, Washington; Idaho Falls, Idaho; West Covina, California; Ponce, Puerto Rico; and then finally settling in Boise, Idaho, for the remainder of his life.
Dean worked for the State of Idaho in the Department of Corrections and Department of Health and Welfare, where he retired in 1996.
Dean and Eda enjoyed 22 years of retirement, which included gardening, carpentry, camping, travel, and church service. They served a mission in Lansing, Michigan, where they worked in the mission office. Much of their time was spent supporting their children, grandchildren, and great-children in ALL of their activities.
Dean faced the final years of his life with courage and perseverance. He is truly our Hero!
Dean leaves behind his loving wife of 60 years, Eda, and his children, Kathy (Don) Haumann, Nancy (Dellas) Frederiksen, Brenda (Troy) Rivera, and Kerry (Gina) Nelson. He is also survived by his brother Dale (Annalee) Nelson and his sister JoAnne Brooks; nine grandchildren, Alisa, Brett, Andi, Stacia, Nathan, Jason, Kyle, Kevin, and Tanner; and 23 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 11:00 a.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 3020 Cherry Lane in Boise, Idaho. The family will greet family and friends prior to the service at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Caldwell, Idaho.