The late night train whistle blew, and Dad caught the last train out on July 15, 2020.
Dad was born April 1st, 1931 to Acel and Elma Nielson in Provo, Utah. Dad had 6 siblings and the family lived in various places growing up including: Provo, UT; Leesburg, ID; Hollister, CA; Ontario, Oregon, and Salt Lake City, UT. The place he loved most was Leesburg, ID. Dad was born with a double hair lip and a cleft pallet. His dad moved around a lot during dad’s younger years and dad worked hard with his family and father. Helping as a migrant worker, helping to cut timber and helping his dad with placer mining
Dad met his sweetheart Glenda C. Firkins collecting her garbage at her apartment as a garbage collector. They struck up a conversation. Dad loved mom right from the start! But mom was not too sure of him in the beginning and thought they were moving too fast so decided to move back with Beech and Marilyn Adams to Nanny. Ol’ Beech would razz Glendee Lou as he called her about Jimmy while she scrubbed the kitchen floors. She’d scrub them even harder with the mention of dad’s name! They had started to date again, and she knew there was a New Year’s Eve dance coming up. But as dad would tell the story with a sly grin, he had a different date that night and worked hard to woo mom back after that. From that point on they were a couple. They had three children. Michael (DeeAnn) Nielson, Forrest (Rose) Nielson and Denise (Michael) Dupaix. Their children would add to his posterity, 14 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren.
During his married years, Dad would go on to join the Historic Railroad Club and help work on Train Engine 618 (Known as the old Heber Creeper), He was always working on car and truck engines, he built custom camper shells and designed some of the first landscape trailers with drop down ramps, installed furnaces, built onto the house, and pretty much help anyone who needed help. Dad took pride in his community delivering newsletters getting involved with the city council and even running for city councilman. When Dad’s eyesight started to fail, he would listen to scriptures, hymns and his old record collections. Dad’s favorite channels were the History and news channels. He would track weather patterns through the years and was a firm believer in the Old Farmers’ Almanac. Dad loved to learn new things throughout his life. You would never have believed he had dropped out of school when he was 15 because of being bullied so much. Dad was welcomed back home by his sweetheart Glenda, his son Mike, his parents Acel and Elma, and 2 of his siblings; Vera Gibby and Erma Olsen. The family is grateful for the care dad received in his last years. The Director Tim Needles and his crew at Avalon West, Dr Jeff Johnson dad’s miracle foot Doctor and Bristol/Brighton Hospice.
A private graveside was held July 21st, 2020 at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, the family would recommend making a donation to the restoration of Train Engine #618. Heber Valley Railroad Foundation – 618 Restoration 450 South 600 West Heber City, UT 84032 www.hebervalleyrr.org – Our Trains – The No. 618 Restoration Questions: (435) 654-5601 – Mark Nelson