Jim Nelson, 84, passed away in his home on May 20th, 2018 surrounded by his family after a short battle with cancer. He was born in West Jordan, UT on July 23, 1933 and was the youngest child of six born to Louis Clifford Nelson and Vera Mary Fife. He was named after his grandfathers on both sides and quickly got the nickname Jim.
Jim had a very happy childhood. He spent most of his time outside on his dad’s 20 acre farm in West Jordan where he was inseparable from his Irish Setter dog Brownie and his Welsh pony Tops. He would wake up at 5 am and tromp all over the Jordan river bottoms at the break of daylight fishing or hunting birds and ducks. He would be back in time for school by 8 am.
When Jim was in the 6th grade, he was struck in the head by a school janitor which caused him to stutter in his speech. He struggled with stuttering all through the following school years and even into his 30’s. The stuttering affected his self-confidence and grades. Despite these challenges, Jim graduated from Jordan High School in 1951.
Even though many people told him not to go to college because of poor grades, Jim applied and was accepted conditionally to the University of Utah. He ended up being the second highest student in his math class. His best subjects in college were math and chemistry. His math professor, Ivan B. Cutler, was head of the ceramic engineering department and took Jim under his wing and greatly influenced him as his mentor and friend. Jim followed in Ivan’s footsteps and graduated from the University of Utah in 1956 with a degree in Ceramic Engineering. About 12 years later Jim served as first counselor in a student ward bishopric with Ivan Cutler along with his other friend Elliot Sorenson who served as the second counselor.
Jim and Pat were set up on a blind date by his brother Louis in March of 1955. Jim knew she was someone special and felt that Pat was the one he had promised to marry in the pre-existence. Even though Pat already had a boyfriend, she agreed to start dating Jim because she thought he was a nice guy and he was going to college. Her current boyfriend was not going to college. After four months of dating they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on August 26, 1955.
After graduating, Jim and Pat moved to Santa Barbara and then North Hollywood for work. It was there that their first son, James Robert was born. After a couple of years, they moved back to Utah to be closer to family and friends. The family grew and soon they had seven children, five boys and two girls.
Jim worked as a ceramic engineer at Edo Western in Salt Lake City for most of his adult life. One of his major accomplishments at work was developing and manufacturing the piezo electric ceramics that were used for sonar in the Navy. Jim was the lead engineer who developed and manufactured state of the art ceramics for military and industrial uses. Jim always gave credit to God for helping him solve many difficult problems at work and always felt extremely humbled by this knowledge. The few companies they competed with still could not accomplish what Jim did on his own, even though they had teams of PhD engineers and chemists.
Jim always loved the life of a farmer and enjoyed helping his father operate his old farm in West Jordan. As his father Louis got older, Jim took over much of the operation of the farm and taught his boys how to work on the farm. They spent many summer weekends watering, cutting, baling and selling hay.
Jim always liked working on projects. These family projects included fixing up a couple of old boats. Jim worked with his kids to restore the boats so they could be used for fishing and waterskiing. Many of the fondest family memories are of the numerous times spent waterskiing, fishing and camping as a family. Jim had a passion for fishing and camping with his family and friends.
Jim spent a lifetime fishing with his cousin and great friend Larry Eckman. From the time they were young boys until his passing they were either fishing together or planning their next trip. Almost 80 years of memories together fishing, hunting and camping and telling stories of their great exploits and bragging about who caught the biggest and most fish.
In 1977 Jim and Pat’s youngest daughter Julie came down with bone cancer in her leg when she was only 10 years old. After a two-year battle with the cancer she passed away in 1979 at the age of 12 years. Although this was a tragic experience for the family, the hand of God was evident through numerous miracles surrounding Julie’s illness and passing. During her suffering, Julie was cared for by people on both sides of the veil. This experience helped strengthen the family and provided a witness that there is a God and that we are his children.
Jim’s greatest achievement was in the raising and caring of his family. He was so proud of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. All five of his boys served LDS missions and graduated from college. All of his surviving children were married in the temple. At this point, all of his grandchildren that have married have been sealed in the temple. Jim had a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and was known for his devotion to the Gospel, his love for his family, and his willingness to help anyone in need. Jim took advantage of every opportunity to bear his testimony to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He never hesitated to help bless anyone spiritually or temporally.
Jim spent a lifetime raising his family, serving in the church, serving and helping others. He was considered by many to be a second father, grandfather or best friend of anyone in need. In his later years, Jim continued to camp, fish and boat with family, grandchildren and friends. He and Pat also enjoyed watching westerns and old classic movies on television together.
He is survived by his wife Patricia, his children Jim (Kris) Nelson, Patricia (Paul) Taylor, Randal (Marcy) Nelson, Michael (Debbie) Nelson, Russell (Geneal) Nelson, David (Tammy) Nelson, and sister Doyne Ballard, 22 grandchildren, and 26 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, 2 brothers Louis and Vard, 2 sisters Roma and Marjorie, daughter Julie Ann Nelson, and great-grandson Brody Nelson.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Saturday, June 2, at the LDS Mount Jordan Stake Center building at 9331 South 300 East, Sandy. A viewing will be held at the same location Friday, June 1, from 6-8 pm, and prior to the funeral service 9:30- 10:30 am. Interment to follow in the West Jordan Cemetery.