Dawna Marie Nelson passed away June 23, 2018, of natural causes, surrounded by family. She was born in Rexburg, Idaho, Sept. 22, 1922, the oldest daughter of Vernon and Lucy Jeppesen.
At age 3, she moved with her parents to Reno, Nevada. She graduated from the University of Nevada Reno and taught school at Lincoln County High School in Caliente, Nevada. While living in Reno, she worked for Vic Miesner from New York who owned a dance studio and taught dancing and was stake dance director.
Dawna met and fell in love with Kerry D. Nelson, and when he returned from overseas duty as an Air Force pilot, he and Dawna were married in the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Together they raised three sons: Kim, Dal and Brice. When the boys were ages 2, 4 and 7, Dawna contracted polio before the vaccine was approved in 1954. This left her right leg paralyzed. This didn’t stop her, she continued on in spite of her handicap, working in many LDS callings: stake organist, stake primary presidency, St. George Temple organist for three years and numerous other positions in music and teaching.
When her husband became principal at Bryce Valley High School in Tropic, Utah, from 1960 to 1968, she organized a school dance band. She taught many piano students and helped students there with dance and music.
In 1983, Kerry retired and their boys built them a lovely home in LaVerkin, Utah. She was very involved in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers during those years and was a docent at the DUP Museum. She made wonderful friendships and lived her remaining years here. Dawna’s passion was family history and genealogy. She spent years compiling family histories and albums that are remarkable and are a legacy to her family.
All who knew Dawna will remember her joyful smile, her love of life and care for family and friends. We were all inspired by her resiliency in dealing with life’s difficulties. We will miss hearing her tell family stories and sharing family histories. Most of all, we will miss hearing her play the piano, which she mastered so well.
Dawna is survived by three children: Kim C. Nelson (Vicki Ann) of St. George, Utah, Dal V. Nelson (Beth) of Logandale, Nevada, and Brice K. Nelson (Jody Lund) of Murietta, California; sister, Grace Leavitt; 12 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Kerry; and grandson Matthew K. Nelson.
- Funeral services will be Saturday, July 7, at the LaVerkin 7th Ward LDS Chapel, 220 N. 560 West, LaVerkin, Utah, at 11 a.m. with a viewing from 9-10:30 a.m.
- A viewing will be held Friday, July 6, from 6-8 p.m. at the Spilsbury Hurricane Valley Mortuary, 25 N. 2000 West, Hurricane, Utah.
- Interment will be at the Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S. Dixie Drive, St. George, Utah.