Cover photo for Richard Val Kelson's Obituary
Richard Val Kelson Profile Photo

Richard Val Kelson

September 30, 1947 — January 23, 2024

Richard Val Kelson

Richard Val Kelson moved on to his next great adventure January 23, 2024 after being burdened by dementia for the past seven years. 

He was born September 30, 1947 to Gordon Ray and Diane Beagley Kelson in Murray, Utah. He spent the next 75 years in his beloved hometown of Nephi. 

His innate athletic skills were put into play from little league to high school basketball, baseball, and football, where he smiled his way through them all - whether winning or losing. 

He had just turned 16, when in the class below, he found his soulmate and sweetheart for the next 61 years, Dana Phillips. They “grew up” together, sharing friends and school activities, family events and the ups and downs of life building a foundation for a loving and happy future.

They were married January 27, 1968 after both had graduated from Juab High School, three weeks later Val left for basic training in the military and went on to serve eight years in the Utah National Guard. 

His parents owned Ray's Cafe when he was growing up. It was his second home. It was there he first learned to work, standing on a crate to reach the dishpan. In his teens they added Ray’s Bowling Lanes to the business and gave Val lots of practice doing what he did best - fixing things. He learned quickly when shown and figured out on his own the rest, skills which he utilized all his adult life to earn a living. After the family business was sold, he worked at Barton Plumbing for 16 years. He worked the next 27 years for Juab School District providing 6 buildings with mechanical maintenance and anything else he was asked to do. In each school he gathered a fan club from year to year who would make a point to chat with him at his “office” (the custodial closet). Two of his most dedicated fans being his daughters, Kristin and Kasa through their high school days. 

Val and Dana’s posterity includes Kristin Ekins (Paul), Salem; Kasa Williams (Duaine), Spanish Fork; grandchildren, Kelson Ekins (Bailee), Cole Ekins (Baily), Dane Williams (Ellie), Brynn Williams (fiancee, Hyrum Johnson), Luke Williams and a great granddaughter, soon to come. Also survived by his wife, Dana. 

His love of camping, fishing and hunting began as a child with his dad and brothers, Jim and Gordon. He continued these sports with his own wife and daughters, giving them a lifetime of good memories. He expected his girls to outfish, outshoot and outride any boy they came up against!

He was an exceptional father, husband and friend and he had a lot of those as he had never met a stranger who didn’t end up a friend. 

Val was a charter member of the Juab Jeep Posse / Search and Rescue. He served a number of years as a Nephi Volunteer Fireman. 

Val and Dana were sealed as a family in the Manti Temple on October 16, 1976. He served in various callings. He served 15 years consecutively as Executive Secretary under three bishops. 

His life was one of kindness, service, honesty and integrity, an incredible work ethic and a masterful sense of humor. He will be remembered for his smile and the twinkle in his beautiful “Santa Claus” eyes. He will be remembered by his family for the love he gave and inspired in return…and his stories of course!

Preceded in death by his father Gordon Ray Kelson, mother Diane Beagley Kelson, brothers Gordon R. Kelson and James H. Kelson, nephew Todd Kelson. 

Funeral services will be Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 11:00 am at the Nephi 1,2,7, Building (200 South 100 East) with a viewing one hour prior and also Friday, January 26, 2024 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Anderson Funeral Home (94 West 300 North). Interment will be at Vine Bluff Cemetery with military honors.

Val Kelson - Funeral Recording.mp3

Past Services

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Friday, January 26, 2024

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Saturday, January 27, 2024

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Funeral Service

Saturday, January 27, 2024

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