Arthur H Nielson, Jr., 93, passed away peacefully, Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Pocatello, Idaho. He lived independently in his own home until the end of his life. He was born on October 29, 1926 in his family’s log house on Bonanza Bar Ranch, west of American Falls, Idaho to Effie Fern Halling and Arthur H Nielson, Sr. He grew up on the ranch near the shores of the Snake River with his older sister, Helen and his younger brother, Don. He learned to work hard as he watched and worked with his parents and knew what it was to be self-sufficient. They raised sheep, pigs and cows along with crops. By the time he was fifteen, his father had taught him how to make a little money on the side by caring for his own small herd of pigs, growing a few acres of potatoes, trapping muskrats and selling the hides, and gathering animal bones in the mountains to sell for bone meal. He learned that with consistent effort, he could accomplish anything he set his mind to, and it became the pattern of his life.
Art attended a country school through 5th grade and then American Falls schools where he played football and made lifelong friends. After high school, he joined the Navy and served on the USS Vicksburg from 1944-1946. He attended Idaho State College on the GI Bill and played “end” on the football team for two years. He graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
He courted Bonnie Jean Farmer from a stool at Halliwell Drug Store’s soda fountain where she was a “soda jerk”. He walked her home from work each evening and finally won her hand. They were married at the Bannock Hotel on August 13, 1950 in Pocatello, Idaho. They were sealed to one another and their children on October 11, 1957 in the Idaho Falls Temple. They were blessed with four children, who they cherished. They instilled in their children a strong work ethic, a desire to follow Jesus Christ and a love of family and country.
In 1959, Art formed Nielson Engineering, a consulting engineering firm in Pocatello. He had the opportunity to design electrical systems and lighting in many buildings in the area, including buildings at Idaho State University, BYU, Ricks College, McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, and many public schools in the region. He created the spectacular flag drop at Holt Arena that he was very proud of.
He was an entrepreneur who was always looking for a way to create something meaningful and productive. He owned rental properties and created USA Fertilizer and DEF USA businesses. He was a member of Rotary Club of Pocatello for over 45 years.
He made the most of every day and had a wide variety of interests. He had a beautiful yard and vegetable garden, which he was preparing for the growing season at the time of his death. He loved farming and owned farmland in the Rockland Valley for many years. He had a private pilot license and was a BYU sports fan. In the 1970’s he built a family cabin in Ketchum, and it has been a wonderful place for his posterity to gather over the years to make memories and enjoy the beauty of the Wood River Valley and ski Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain. He has written pages and pages of family history stories, which his family will cherish for generations to come.
His greatest love was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He served as Bishop of the Pocatello 2nd Ward and was a member of the Pocatello East Stake Presidency. He served in many callings in the church, including a church service mission with his wife, Bonnie. He was a devoted home teacher to many families throughout his life.
He is survived by his four children and their spouses - Kathleen and Blane Roskelley, RaeJean and Tom Eisenhauer, Gordon and Sally Nielson, Cheri and Paul Starkie – and 19 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and his brother and wife, Don and Helen Nielson of Palo Alto, CA.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie; his parents; his sister, Helen; and a grandson, Blake Crandall.
Private graveside services will be held at Mountain View Cemetery. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date when we are able to gather together.
Donations in his memory can be made to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Missionary or Humanitarian Fund @donate.churchofjesuschrist.com
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