Willa Nelson died peacefully on June 28, 2018. She was born the third of eight children in her family home in Draper, Utah to Samuel and Verda Crane. Willa married the love of her life, James B. Nelson, on September 17, 1947 in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the proud parents of Ann N. Miller, Draper and the grandparents of James B. Tolboe - Salt Lake City and Christina Sowell (Trandon) - Kaiserslautern, Germany. The great joy of Willa’s life was her family and that joy will be in our hearts forever.
Willa was truly one of a kind and filled our lives with love, laughter, adventure and enough incredible food “to feed the army.” She learned hard work on her father’s farm and continued to work hard the rest of her life. When a job became hard, she would share a memory of hoeing and thinning endless rows of sugar beets.
Nothing could stop Willa; she loved crocheting, was a master in the art of quilting, a fearless deer hunter, and even picked up bowling late in life. However, her favorite activity was the cherished time she spent with family. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt.
She and Jim were an unstoppable team. They served side by side in numerous Church callings, worked with the American Fork Lions Club, all while building their cabin at Strawberry. They both lived life with an astonishing amount of love, service, and adventure. Willa worked as the secretary in the Open Hearth office at Geneva Steel for 32 years, where she made lifelong friends.
Willa and Jim were rarely alone - they loved being surrounded by friend and family. Whether on a jeep trip bouncing down the trail, at one their famous RV trips, fishing, hunting, or exploring the mountains all were invited. This is easily seen by the number of legendary stories scattered throughout the Nelson and Crane families. At the mention of her name, all can recall a memory of our beloved “Aunt Willa.”
Willa is survived by her daughter, grandchildren, and siblings: Clyde (Ora) Crane - Draper, Betty Kidner - Salt Lake City, Carol Lee (Doug) Jenkins - Draper, sister-in-law Affra Nelson - Sandy, and brother-in-law Glen Nelson - Orem. She is preceded in death by her husband, parents, siblings: Harold Crane, Lorna Rogers, Merle Crane, and Ronald Crane. She was also preceded in death by her dear life-long friends: Wayne L. (Huck) and Leola Durrant. We know she is having a grand reunion with Jim, her parents, and many more. We will miss her amazing spirit and sitting close to her as she cheered on her BYU Cougars.
Willa loved her nephew Sam Crane’s children; In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, July 7, in the Corner Canyon Stake Center, 13366 South 1300 East, Draper, Utah. Friends and family may visit Willa’s family at a viewing held Friday evening from 6-8 pm at Anderson & Goff Mortuary, 11859 South 700 East, Draper, Utah, and at the Corner Canyon Stake Center from 10:00 am - 10:45 am on Saturday prior to the funeral.
Interment - American Fork Cemetery.