Ida Lawana Nilson Larsen, 91, completed her earthly journey Tuesday morning, August 6, 2019, at home, surrounded by her loving family. We are so grateful to have been able to celebrate her 91st birthday with her and most of her family only a few days before her passing. Although we cannot imagine life without our angel mother and grandma, we know that she has enjoyed a grand reunion with her sweetheart and so many other loved and missed family members.
“The first great blessing” of her life, as Mom states in her personal history, “was being born to goodly parents.” Mom was born on August 1, 1928 to Samuel Iven and Nora Hansen Nilson in Smithfield, Utah. She grew up with her older brother, Dale, three older sisters, Feryl, Connie, and Glade, and one younger sister, Nereece. The Nilson home “was one where the gospel was taught by example” as both her parents had served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mom was grateful for being blessed with the gift of faith that was such a strength to her throughout her life. She had several health challenges from the time she was young and learned to rely on the power of the Priesthood. Mom’s father was a livestock dealer and a farmer. The family spent winters in town and summers working their farm in Smithfield Canyon. It was there that Mom had the opportunity to ride the derrick horse, drive the tractor or truck, and camp under the stars. She learned to drive at the age of nine by driving the tractor or car back and forth on the campground road.
Mom attended Summit Elementary and Smithfield Junior High. She graduated from North Cache High School in 1946 as an honor student. She had a wonderful childhood listening to her mother’s stories of faith, traveling with her father as he sold livestock, helping with the garden and farm and house chores, listening to radio programs, using eggs to buy penny candy at Nell Toolsen’s store, walking down the road to the movie theater, and riding the streetcar to Logan or Hyde Park.
Mom met our father, Harvey Barker Larsen, their sophomore year and they enjoyed going to dances and Gold and Green Balls in the nearby towns. Dad enlisted in the Army during his senior year and when he came home on furlough after basic training, he gave Mom an engagement ring. While he was in Japan for a year, they wrote to each other almost every day. After graduating from high school, Mom worked at the Smithfield Implement Company as a bookkeeper.
As a child, Mom’s health wasn’t the best. She had bronchiectasis which caused her to cough all the time. We could always find her in a store by following her cough. She had two lung surgeries to remove parts of her lungs, one when she was 18 years old and another a few years later. She and her family relied on the promises given in a blessing from Elder Spencer W. Kimball.
On June 26th, 1947, Dad and Mom were sealed in the Logan Temple. They lived with Dad’s parents in Newton until they built a basement house on a corner lot next to his parent’s house. Years later, they completed the house and added the main level onto the basement. Dad and Mom had to wait many long years for children to come and after a special Priesthood blessing, their first baby, Kent Harvey, was born on December 29, 1955. Mom had worked for seven years at Logan Knitting Mill and thought she would really miss it when she quit, but she never missed it for a minute. She became a stay-at-home mother and loved it. Five more children were born into the family: Nyla Jean, Margo, Sidney “N”, Marsha, and Dana Norman.
As a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mom spent her entire life in service to her Savior, His church, and her family. Her children grew from infancy with her taking them with her to Primary and Relief Society as she served there. In every calling, whether as an auxiliary president, teaching a class, or playing the organ, she relied on fasting and prayer for comfort and direction, as speaking and teaching were always frightening to her. At home, the whole family was involved in the dairy and farm business night and day. Mom’s life was very busy taking care of her family, managing the house and the yard, feeding and housing extra people who worked on the farm, running errands and helping out on the farm – even moving sprinkler pipe.
In 1980, Dad and Mom sold our home and farm in Newton and purchased our house in Smithfield. What a blessing our home in Smithfield has been to our family ever since. We have had 39 years of family parties, annual Christmas Eve gatherings, and cherished summer evenings playing games in the backyard. Like her mother, Mom always had beautiful flowers and especially loved roses. She worked hard to have a beautiful yard with many colors and varieties of trees, bushes, ground covers, and flowers. Mom was so grateful for her association with the members of the Smithfield Fifth Ward, her neighbors, and friends. We thank you for your love and kindness to her through the years. You have richly blessed her life.
Dad passed away on March 17th, 1983 after he and Mom had been married for almost thirty-six years. Mom was truly comforted at that time and felt it was such a blessing to have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to know of our Heavenly Father’s plan for the salvation of his children here on the earth.
Dad had raised racehorses and we had been training them in preparation for the Idaho Derby. The summer after dad died, it was time to take the horses to Boise to race so for the summer we lived in our fifth wheel trailer taking care of the horses, seeing that they were entered into the right races, and caring for their every need. Our best horse, Cutie, won the Derby and we came home with a trophy.
After Dad died, Mom began working with her brother-in-law and sister, Paul and Nereece Herd, at their business on Main Street in Smithfield. Mom was the chief designer of the padded protection cases manufactured at Z-Bag and sold to companies all over the country. She was an excellent seamstress. Mom enjoyed working there with many of her family members for over thirteen years until she retired.
Mom always loved attending the temple and one of the things she enjoyed most in her later years was the nine years she spent in the Logan Temple as a telephone operator and supervisor. She only stopped when her eyesight diminished so much that she was not able to drive to the Temple. Just last month, she renewed her recommend for the last time with her Priesthood leaders.
Over the years Mom filled her days with service to her family as she went from home to home helping her daughters and daughters-in-law with whatever project they had going. She spent her time cooking, sewing, doing laundry, tending grandkids, gardening, completing home improvement projects, canning peaches and other fruits and vegetables, freezing corn, making jam – anything that would help a child or grandchild. One of the challenges in her life was when her fading eyesight prevented her from serving her family.
She spent many years indexing genealogical records for as long as she was able to see the computer screen. Being idle was never something Mom was interested in trying out. When she was unable to go anywhere or do much, she spent her time alone listening to books from the Utah State Library for the Blind. Many nights we could hear her book playing as she listened when she was not able to sleep. She also religiously listened to her scriptures on her computer. Recently we were listening to Sheri Dew’s new book on President Nelson’s life and even though she enjoyed it, after a couple weeks, she said she felt she needed to get back to listening to the Book of Mormon. Mom thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to each and every phone call and visit from her children and grandchildren, neighbors, friends, and other family members. She was able to have dinner in the campground in Smithfield Canyon just a few weeks ago. That night she enjoyed visiting with her kids and grandkids and watching the great-grandkids play in the same area where she played as a child.
Mom’s complete life has been blessed with family and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We, as her family, will be forever grateful to her for her faith, her commitment to her family, her example, and especially her unconditional love. Two words describe our mother well: faith and family. Her family was her joy and she was blessed to have all of us children, and most of our families, close by. The many, many, family gatherings will be cherished forever. The Lord truly blessed Mom throughout her life and also blessed us to have her with us for as long as we have. She was a silent teacher by her actions and lived what she believed. She was a true disciple of Jesus Christ and a great example of enduring to the very end with grace. Although our hearts swell with sadness, we are overcome with happiness, peace, and joy in the knowledge that we will see her again, that she is not gone, but has simply graduated to the Spirit World and has been reunited with our dad after more than 36 years apart. Rest in peace, our angel mother. We love you.
Mom leaves behind a legacy of love – a posterity of almost 90 family members who love and adore her. She was preceded in death by her parents, older siblings and their spouses, and by her great-granddaughter, Tayzli Hale. She is survived by her six children and their spouses; Kent and Theresa, Nyla Spackman, Margo and Jeff Pierce, Sid and Sydney, Marsha and Robert Webb, and Dana and Judy; 27 grandchildren and their spouses; 28 great-grandchildren; her sister and brother-in-law, Nereece and Paul Herd; her sister-in-law, Wanda Balls; her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Don and Nancy Larsen; and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 12:00 noon in the Smithfield South Stake Center Chapel, 451 South 250 East, Smithfield. A viewing will be held Thursday, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Stake Center and on Friday, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. prior to the funeral. Interment will be in the Smithfield City Cemetery.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Franklin County Funeral Home 56 S. State Street, Preston, Idaho 208-254-7866.
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