William Marion Nielson, age 81, completed his mortal journey on September 26, 2021. He was born on May 24, 1940, to Albert Senius Nielson II and Ethel Mae Johnson in Payson, Utah.
Bill was blessed to celebrate his life with many of his loved ones in his own home prior to returning to his heavenly home. Bill loved being in the outdoors from daylight to dark with his family and his cows. He could outwork his kids and his grandkids and conveyed the impression of invincibility. His entire life, he taught by example the value of hard work.
Bill grew up exploring the world with his family, his brother, and his cousins. His dad was in the Navy. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu when it was bombed. Bill was playing outside, hooked to a clothesline, and was quickly moved to the bomb shelter. He lived in many mining communities, including Grants, New Mexico, Lander Wyoming, and Deer Lodge, Montana.
Bill struggled when it was time to go to school; he loved the outdoors and being free. He seemed to find trouble wherever he went, rebelling at first and being disruptive as he fell behind. He switched schools often as his dad moved from mine to mine. He would start each adventure by fighting the biggest kid in school. As a teenager, he ran away. He worked for farmers and ran from cops. He was not able to make enough money so he returned home. He joined the wrestling team and won the State Championship having never been pinned the entire year.
He met Cheri Adel Ward at seminary graduation and began dating her about 4 months later. They were married in the Manti Temple on June 11, 1959, shortly after Cheri graduated from High School. Bill was a skilled cement finisher. He also became one of the best miners, following in his father’s footsteps and training with his Uncle JH. He could go into a stope and pull out more than anyone else. He mined until he had enough money to buy his own ranch in Genola, Utah. His intent was to keep his family in one place, but 10 years later when the price of cows dropped, he returned to the mines trying to save his ranch. He went to work in Church Rock/ Gallup, New Mexico. He was not able to save the ranch in Genola, but three years later, he found a new ranch in Randolph, Utah.
He loved working the land. He built reservoirs, corrals, rock walls, and endless miles of fence. He raised cows, hay, horses, sheep, pigs, and 6 children! He taught them to never give up, to keep trying until the task was complete. He showed them that they could do hard things and believed in them. He eventually bought a winter range in Southern Utah and a grazing permit on the Arizona Strip. He also had a permit in Escalante and 50-mile mountain. He covered the State moving cows from place to place.
He worked other jobs, mining in Kemmerer and driving trucks for Andrus, to cover the needs of the growing ranch and a growing family. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many callings. Several of his grandsons worked on the ranch during the busy summers. There was always more work than daylight available, but he took advantage of every moment. He was one tough cowboy!
He is survived by his children Sandra(Ken) Robinson- Fredonia, AZ, Christy(Jerry) Chadwick- Provo, UT, Bill Nielson- Kemmerer, WY, Stephanie(Kevin) Terry- Las Vegas, NV, Jeneal(Mike)- St. George, UT, (Melanie) Nielson- Saratoga Springs, UT, 48 grandchildren, 76 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents- Sonny & Ethel, beloved wife- Cheri, son- Garth, and brother- Albert.
Funeral services will be held October 4, 2021 at 5:30pm at the Leeds LDS Chapel located at 75 N Main, Leeds, Utah 84746; this service will be live-streamed at mcmillanmortuary.com A viewing will begin at 4:00pm at the same location.
Interment will be in the Spanish Fork Utah Cemetery on October 5, 2021 at 11:00am.
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