Merlin Edgar Nielson, 85, of Idaho Falls, passed away Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at Life Care Center of Idaho Falls.
He was born July 7, 1926, in Idaho to Edgar Odland Nielson and Catherine Bevins Nielson. He grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Thatcher High School.
He joined the Army and served during World War II, where he was the top marksman in his platoon.
Merlin married Elizabeth Talbot on March 23, 1948, in the Logan, Utah, LDS Temple, and together they raised their four children.
He ranched for nine years in Swan Valley and later furthered his career in construction as part owner in Gray Landscaping, followed by superintendent for Burgraff Construction.
Merlin was instrumental in getting the VFW hall in Swan Valley built and served as the Legion VFW president and vice president.
He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he served as ward clerk, a home teacher, high priests and elders instructor, and family history consultant.
Merlin enjoyed fishing, hunting, riding horses, snowmobile racing, camping and being outdoors. He and Beth spent many winters traveling in the South.
He is survived by his wife, Beth, of Idaho Falls; sons, Craig (Annette Clark) Nielson of Meridian, Kurt (Vicki Moore) Nielson of Wolfpoint, Mont., and Robert Dee (Lori Bloom) Nielson of Idaho Falls; daughter, Kim Nielson (Gary) Copeland of Sandy, Ore.; brother, Homer Nielson of Blackfoot; and sister, Ora Nielson Rasmussen of Preston.
He was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Delbert, Harvey, Verl and Lee; three sisters, Erma, Donna and Della; and one granddaughter, Stephanie Kristine Nielson.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, July 9, at the Sunnyside Village Ward, 5255 S. Fifth West, with Bishop Howard Arrington officiating. The family will visit with friends from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 S. Ammon Road, and from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Monday prior to services. Burial will be in Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery, with military rites performed by the Bonneville County Veterans Team. Arrangements are under the direction of Wood Funeral Home East Side.
Online condolences may be sent to www.woodfuneralhome.com.