Leona Nelson, 87, died Aug. 8, 2014, finally free from the physical burden of Alzheimer's disease. She was born Jan. 1, 1927, in Malone, Washington, to Leon and Sarah Hasbrouck. Her family moved to Petersburg where they lived for many years on Camp Island, a fox fur farm. After being homeschooled through her elementary years, she graduated from Petersburg High School.|
Leona married Dale Hirt in 1944 and was blessed with four sons. She remarried in 1959 to Rawson L. Nelson and welcomed three more boys. The family moved to Fairbanks in 1965 and settled in Anderson in 1968.
Leona treasured children. She loved being surrounded by her boys, their friends, children she tended for working parents, and later her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her magical purse always delivered a treat of gum or candy to the delight of her young companions. Pictures of family and friends decorated a large wall in her home, keeping them ever close to her. She could always be found at a basketball game, track field or dance recital if one of her loved ones was participating.
Leona loved nature, beautiful flowers and cards with affectionate messages. Many bouquets kept their beauty under her tender care.
Paintings of mountain scenes and wildlife graced many walls in her home. She shared her artistic talents through landscape oil paintings, which now hang in the homes of her children. She also enjoyed sewing, quilting and ceramics.
An avid gardener and berry picker, Leona provided many delicious meals for her family. She baked countless loaves of bread to feed her hungry teenage sons. Holiday dinners were a delightful combination of family, friends and wonderful food. Although not a hunter herself, she packed the food cooler to perfection for many of her husband's moose and caribou hunts.
Leona was a beautician by trade and operated a private salon in her home for many years. A woman of faith, she served as a primary teacher and Relief Society president in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Leona was preceded in death by her brother, Ted Hasbrouck, and her son, Russell Hirt.
She is survived by her loving husband of 55 years, Rawson Nelson Sr.; her sister, Angie Hofstad, and her sons, Dale Hirt II, Eugene (Corky) Hirt (Moira), Michael Hirt (Martha), Rawson Nelson, Jr., Matthew Nelson (Vicki) and Joseph Nelson (Becky). She will be missed and remembered by 27 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Funeral services for Leona Nelson will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Nenana Civic Center.
A potluck will follow the program. The family wishes to honor Leona's love of nature by filling the center with flowers. Please bring and share some from your garden.
Leona's family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Denali Center for their years of excellent and loving care. Funeral arrangements were handled by the Chapel of Chimes.
Please visit www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsminer to sign an online guest book.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Aug. 17, 2014