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Nelson James Tinney


1935 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Nelson James Tinney Obituary
Nelson James Tinney, 81, passed away January 29, 2017, in his home in Meridian, Idaho, after a short, but vicious battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born June 5, 1935 in Dayton, Ohio, Nelson was the fourth of seven children. Born into humble and difficult beginnings, he learned early on the value of faith, family, and work. He loved the rural town of his childhood and often wished he could return there to live on a farm. He loved school and sports, and as a young man excelled at both, even earning the nickname from his baseball team, "Nelsi-Babe," after Babe Ruth. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1955, and served as an interpreter of Russian for Air Force Intelligence until 1959. He had a passion for languages and studied Russian at Syracuse University and later also learned to speak Spanish and German. After his military service, he moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where he met Elvira Soetje in an LDS German branch while exploring the German language. They were married on July 15, 1961, and sealed in the LDS Idaho Falls Temple. Nelson spent the last several years tirelessly and selflessly caring for Elvira as she slowly succumbed to muscular dystrophy, and passed away just this past summer, after 55 years of marriage. Nelson and Elvira raised five children in Salt Lake City, and Nelson taught them the value of hard work, patience, and diligence through his example. For over 30 years, Nelson rose every weekday at 5 AM, often working up to twelve hours a day at the Kennecott Copper Mine as a metallurgical statistician, to support his family. In 2009, he and his wife moved to Meridian, Idaho. Nelson loved spending time with his grandchildren, and enthusiastically supported them in their sports and activities.
Nelson was fit and healthy, loved exercising, and created interesting vitamin-packed concoctions to drink. He was an avid jogger for most of his adult life, and could outrun his grandchildren. Nelson was a longtime fan of BYU basketball and football, keeping up on stats and scores until the last week of his life. He also enjoyed singing and was usually a member of the church choir. He played the piano well, and oftentimes would impress his children and grandchildren as they watched his nimble fingers fly across the keyboard playing "Bumble Boogie." Daily he looked for ways to help others, and though experiencing increasing pain, was shoveling snow from his neighbors' walks shortly before his death.
Nelson loved learning, and believed in self-improvement and change. He often said, "You are what you think," and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," believing each day can be a new beginning. Nelson was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His membership and service in the Church was the most personally meaningful part of his life. He was able to touch many lives through his many different positions, and always involved his family. His great love and enthusiasm for missionary work and missionaries was infectious as he served and worked with them. For the past several years, he found great joy in serving in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program and deeply loved all those he served and with whom he served. The messages of the Atonement, forgiveness, redemption, rebirth, and salvation were of especial personal meaning to Nelson. He never passed up an opportunity to share these messages with others, and accepted others with no judgment and unconditional love. Nelson fought all his life to maintain a positive outlook. He believed in the basic goodness and potential of all people. He never complained, and up to his final hours he was still smiling. The cancer took his body, but it never conquered his spirit.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Hazel Kathleen Greene, father, Prentice Tinney, 3 brothers: Prentice, Norman, Charles, 2 sisters: Marilyn, Sharon, and his wife, Elvira Martha Christa Hedi Soetje. Nelson is survived by his 5 children: Carmen (Gary) Walsh, Victoria (Rudy) Triana, James (Ginger), Connie (John) McMurray, and Darin: 13 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild, and one brother, Thomas Milton Tinney.
A viewing to be held at Accent Funeral Home, 1303 N Main Street, Meridian, ID, Thursday, February 9th from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. A Graveside Service with Military Honors will be held Friday, February 10th at 11:00am at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, 10100 Horseshoe Bend Rd., Boise. Services are under the direction of Accent Funeral Home, Meridian. Remembrances may be left for the family at www.AccentFuneral.com.
Published in Idaho Statesman on Feb. 5, 2017
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