Cover photo for Neil Foss Nelson's Obituary
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Neil Foss Nelson

April 9, 1936 — February 18, 2024

Preston, Idaho

Neil Foss Nelson

Neil Foss Nelson, 87 of Preston, Idaho, beloved father, grandfather, brother-in- law, uncle, and friend returned to his heavenly home to be reunited with his sweetheart and many loved ones on February 18, 2024. He died in the same hospital in Preston, Idaho where he was born April 9, 1936, to Earl William Nelson and Margaret Emily Foss. Neil was the second of four sons: Earl William Jr., Kent Earl, and Craig David.   

His childhood was marked by the joys of playing cowboys on stick horses, kick- the- can, and night games. He had a paper route and shared his days with his dogs, Lucky, and Peppy. Neil was an active youth, participating in basketball, baseball, and football, lettering in swimming and track, excelling particularly in high jumping.   He fondly reminisced about growing up during a golden era, with the best music and his cherished 1952 Ford as his first car.

Neil spent his early years working alongside his father at Modern Farm Equipment Company. At the age of 13 he experienced the loss of his mother, and later his father married Vera Palmer Symes and her with her twins, Joel and Judy Symes, joined the family.

Graduating from Preston High School in 1954, he followed his friends to pursue his education at Brigham Young University, graduating in accounting. He bled true blue, cheering for the cougars. However, the highlight of his college experience was meeting his sweetheart, Sara Mae Provost. They were married on June 20, 1958, in the Salt Lake Temple.

Neil served in the Idaho National Guard and as a couple they lived six months in Monterey, California during his active-duty service. In 1960, Neil and Sara made Preston, Idaho their permanent home, purchasing the very house he lived in till he died.   Their union brought forth four daughters: Valerie, Suzanne, Barbara, and Kathryn. Neil dedicated thirty-five years to the ownership and management of Modern Farm Equipment Company, where he specialized in selling farm equipment and parts. Following the sale of this business, he assumed the role of Controller at West Motor Company, where he faithfully served for two decades in the car business. As a certified public accountant, Neil established the Neil F. Nelson Company, providing tax services for forty-five years. His passion for education extended to teaching accounting at Preston High School. Beyond his professional endeavors, Neil was deeply committed to community service, notably serving on the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission, a member of the Lions Club, Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.

Neil's dedication to youth development shone through his service on the Cache Valley Council in scouting, earning him the prestigious Silver Beaver Award.  He enriched the culture of Preston. When the local theatre closed its doors, he spearheaded efforts to preserve the town's spirit by purchasing and transforming it into the Worm Creek Opera House. With a vision to infuse the community with the vibrancy of live theatre, Neil and his associates hired summer college interns to stage productions for three years. Through his contributions, He left a mark on both the community of Preston and the hearts of those he touched.

Neil loved being a father and with Sara. They created unforgettable "kite flying days," full of adventure. These excursions featured picnics, campouts, dutch-oven cooking, boating, and chasing rainbows in search of the pot of gold. They also included swimming, attending live theater, cheering on BYU football games, savoring chocolate chip cookies, family history, traveling, visiting Midway to see grandma and all the cousins, and indulging in ice cream. As the family grew to include eighteen grandchildren, the adventures became even more delightful. Camping out at his house, celebrating Christmas at Temple Square, embarking on Jackson Hole Adventures, playing in the ocean, and deep-sea fishing, raiding his candy were just a few of the cherished activities. Dad and Mom would eagerly fly to visit wherever the children lived to create another memorable kite flying day. The arrival of forty-two great-grandchildren brought joy to Neil's heart. It was during this time that he changed his first diaper and relished the love and attention showered upon him. His generosity extended beyond blood relations, as he hosted several exchange students over the years and adopted many other friends who affectionately called him grandpa.

Neil embraced life, drawing inspiration from Mary Poppins that "anything can happen if you let it." His unwavering faith and optimism shone through in his “Clown Mail” quotes and stories he mailed to family to stay connected with them weekly. Each message carried his signature clown.

Dad was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in many callings including scoutmaster, member of the stake presidency, ward and stake clerk, family history specialist. He loved his missionary service with Sara in Banbury, England, and London, England Temple, Together, they joyfully served in the Logan, Utah Temple.

Neil is survived by his daughters, Valerie (Brent) White; Suzanne (Steven) Murray, Barbara Baird; Kathryn (Michael) Maddix; and his 18 grandchildren and spouses and 42 great-grandchildren, whom he treasured. His extended family, Cheryn Provost and Ralph Walker, as well as many nieces and nephews. His exchange student Susan Redwood. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sweetheart, brothers, stepsiblings, and Sara’s family.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 2, 2024, at 2 p.m. in  the Preston North Stake Center,  310 North State Street, Preston, Idaho. Viewings will be held Friday from 6-8 pm at Webb Funeral Home, 1005 S. 800 E., Preston and Saturday from 1-1:45 pm at the stake center.  The services will be streamed live and may be watched Saturday at 2 pm (MST) by clicking on the link on the following link:

https://youtube.com/live/3H_yVe_ZGSw?feature=share

 Interment will be in the Preston Cemetery.  Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at webbmortuary.com

To honor Neil, perhaps it would be a beautiful gesture if you, could share a hug, do a good deed, call a friend, love your family, contribute an extra nickel to the humanitarian fund, share a meaningful thought, or any small act of kindness that brings you joy.





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Past Services

Viewing

Friday, March 1, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Viewing

Saturday, March 2, 2024

1:00 - 1:45 pm (Mountain time)

Preston North Stake Center

310 N State St, Preston, ID 83263

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Funeral Service

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Preston North Stake Center

310 N State St, Preston, ID 83263

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