Nelda Haderlie Oakeson (age 88) of Farmington, Utah passed away peacefully on Friday afternoon, February 7, 2020, at home surrounded by family.
Nelda was born to John Joseph and Martha Lindholm Haderlie in Afton, Wyoming. She was the youngest of five children: Conn, Wilma, Morris and Vella. She lived her first 20 years in Freedom, Wyoming with her family, moving from the Tincup home (up the canyon) into town when she was a teenager. On their 500-acre farm, her parents instilled in her the importance of hard work as they made soap, cared for animals, milked cows, and harvested hay. As her older siblings grew up and moved away, she became her father’s right-hand “man” taking care of many needs around the farm. On the farm, she developed a deep love of nature and the outdoors.
Nelda graduated from Star Valley High and attended Utah State University and LDS Business College where she met Willard Oakeson. After a short engagement, they were married in the Logan Temple, July 29, 1953 on Willard’s 3-day pass following his basic training. Nelda went with Willard to California’s Fort Ord until he was sent to Korea. Then she returned to Freedom to help on the farm.
After Willard’s return from Korea, they settled down and started raising a family. In the course of their life, they lived in Salt Lake City, Granger, Kaysville, and then Farmington, Utah where they have lived together for 56 years. Nelda and Willard have 6 children:
Shirley (Craig) Smart – Logan, Utah, Carol (Terry) Hess – Farmington, Utah, Marie (Brian) Harris – Orem, Utah, Ralph (FaNae) Oakeson – Riverton, Utah, Elaine (Kurt) Hills – Farmington, Utah, Donna (Marc) Semadeni – Spring, Texas.
Nelda welcomed people into their home; either for a night’s lodging, or a temporary place to live. This was the case as they cared for 3 young girls on the Indian Placement Program to be part of their family during school years.
Nelda had a special love for children and she tended children in her home for 28 years. She was sought after for her fun activities and moral values as a daycare provider. Nelda also loved her grandchildren who enjoyed visiting and staying overnight. She would read stories, play board games, and spread out blankets across the floor for sleeping over. Grandchildren were often treated to heart-shaped waffles, maple-frosted scones and home-made apricot juice for breakfast.
Because of her innate love of the land and farming, she enjoyed growing a large garden each year. She was frugal and bottled her abundant harvest, sometimes starting at 4:00am. Nelda loved sharing her harvest with others and liberally gave away fresh produce, bottled fruit and dried leather.
Nelda was a great example of a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many callings, most notably was her many years of service as a Primary teacher, which she loved. Nelda was also a letter writer and enjoyed her church calling of writing letters to the missionaries, which she did for nearly 10 years. She and Willard served an 18-month proselyting mission in the California, Oakland Mission. Most of all, Nelda will be remembered for the loving service she gave to others. She was always looking for things she could do or give to those around her.
Nelda had Perthes Disease in her hip (discovered at age 3) and lived her whole life enduring pain and limitations. Her last year was a trial as she knew she was losing her memory, and her ability to work hard and be independent.
Nelda is survived by her husband, Willard, her six children, 22 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her father, mother, siblings and their spouses and 1 great-granddaughter. Nelda often expressed how much she loved her family and was grateful they were loving and accepting of each other.
We express gratitude to all who served Nelda during her final months: Dr. Oaks, Elevation Home Care and family and friends who were such a support.
Funeral services will be held in the Farmington Rock Chapel, 272 North Main, Farmington, Utah on Saturday, February 15 at 11:00am, with a viewing previous from 9:30 – 10:30am. There will also be a viewing Friday, February 14, 2020 6:00 – 8:00pm at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 1941 North Main Street, Farmington, Utah. Interment will be in the Farmington City Cemetery.
Condolences may be extended to the family online at www.russonmortuary.com