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Debra Ann (Nilsson) Tolman


1956 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Debra Ann (Nilsson) Tolman Obituary
Debra Ann Nilsson Tolman, 58, of Blackfoot, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, following a valiant battle with cancer. During the final days of her life she was surrounded by family, the focus of her life.
She was born April 7, 1956, in Blackfoot, the oldest child of Donald and Melba Longmore Nilsson.
Debra grew up in Blackfoot where she graduated from Blackfoot High School in 1974. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University where she earned a degree in elementary education. On November 24, 1978 she married J.D. Tolman in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple.
She taught 2nd grade in Rexburg, Idaho while J.D. was finishing his degree at Ricks College. They moved to Jerome, Idaho where J.D. worked on the family farm and their first child was born. They later moved to Blackfoot where Debra taught 6th grade and piano lessons to support J.D. as he finished his education at Idaho State University. They made Blackfoot their home, and their next three children were born there.
Debra loved her family and enjoyed spending time with them. She especially enjoyed reading with her children and grandchildren, playing games, camping, going on family vacations, and gardening with her family. She had a deep love for each of her children and grandchildren and was always willing to drop anything she was doing to come to their aid. She spent countless hours assisting in her children's homes in times of need.
Debra was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout her life, and served faithfully for many years in the primary, young women's organization, and in multiple music callings. She had an enormous love for serving the children as she served as primary president on three separate occasions.
Music was a part of Debra's life from a young age. She enjoyed singing and was an accomplished pianist and organist. Many lives have been blessed by her service in the Church as she accompanied choirs and congregations through the years.
She passed on her love for music to her children and supported them in their band and choir activities. She spent many years as a volunteer in the high school band boosters. As a pianist, she was able to accompany her own children as well as other students in the community for band and choir solos and ensembles.
Debra enjoyed dancing and loved being a part of the BYU Ballroom Dance Team. She and J.D. first met in a dance class at Ricks College, and they have always enjoyed dancing together. They were always looking for opportunities to attend dances as well as share their talent with others as they have taught dance classes through the years.
She has always been an exceptional seamstress, and in the past few years she found an enthusiasm for sewing and selling doll clothing and accessories. In her spare time she could be found sorting doll clothing, preparing for the next craft fair, and stocking the shelves in the local boutiques.
Debra is survived by her loving husband, J.D., four children: Rebecca (Jason) Ginos of North Salt Lake, Utah; Kimberly (Steven) Whitehead of Baker City, Oregon; David (Lillian) Tolman of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Bradley Tolman of Orem, Utah; and ten grandchildren: Brayden, Ashlyn, Brielle, and Kaleb Ginos; Justin, Natalie, Landon, and Kira Whitehead; and Nathan and Nicole Tolman. She is also survived by her parents, Donald and Melba Nilsson of Blackfoot, siblings: Linda (Blaine) Allen of Farr West, Utah; Michael (Julia) Nilsson of Blackfoot; Shauna (Brian) Stapleton of Lindon, Utah; and Brian (Gina) Nilsson of Chubbuck, Idaho; and other family members including many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents and grandchildren Jace and Brooke Whitehead.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 30, 2015, at the Blackfoot East Stake Center, 1289 Mt Putnam Dr, with President Von Kunz conducting. The family will meet with friends and relatives from 6-8 p.m. Sunday, March 29, 2015, at Hawker Funeral Home, 132 S. Shilling Ave. and for one hour prior to services at the church. Interment will be in the Riverside-Thomas Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.hawkerfuneralhome.com
Published in The Morning News on Mar. 31, 2015
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