Arthur O. Neilson Jr.
Arthur O. Neilson, Jr. passed away April 14, 2017 in Centerville, Utah. He was born July 15, 1931 to Arthur O. Sr. and Bena Fern Watson Neilson in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. Art married Winnie Vance in the Manti LDS Temple September 14, 1951, and they were blessed to have five amazing children, 18 equally amazing grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Art and Winnie were blessed to have 65 years together. Art graduated from North Sanpete High School and Snow College, where he was an all-around athlete, including All-State Football player. He also excelled in boxing and later in martial arts. While working at Edison Bros. Shoe Stores in SLC, with a managerial position as a career goal, he decided to follow his heart to become a coach and teacher. He graduated from the U of U with a degree in Physical Ed/Biology, and while there was an Asst. Coach at East High. His first head-coaching and teaching assignment was at Richfield High School, where he started the football and wrestling programs. He also coached baseball and assisted Coach Dean Larsen in basketball and tennis. He taught Biology, which he later found to be the most satisfying part of his career. He and Winnie enjoyed their Richfield experience and their many friends there. Desiring further schooling, they moved to Bountiful where Art applied to the Davis School District, taught at Clearfield High for 1 year and was then hired for the new Viewmont High School where he started the Biology program, teaching Biology and Physiology and coached wrestling. He taught there for 20 years before he and Winnie had a stint as managers at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. After their return from Hawaii, Art taught at Rivendale Behavioral Deficit School and Clearfield Job Corps. After "retiring" he became a substitute teacher for Bountiful, Woods Cross, Viewmont and Davis High Schools and Centerville Jr. High, being called almost every school day. This became the frosting on the cake as he taught a younger generation, some being children and grandchildren of his former students. He loved teaching because he truly loved the students, and some of his closest friends were his students and the principals and teachers with whom he associated. Art was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and except for a time in two bishoprics and in a High Priest Group leadership, was called as a teacher in almost every organization, which of course, he loved. He could be called on at the last minute to teach in any situation. One of Art's other great loves were fly fishing and float tubing, at which he was a master. He was a true catch-and-release fisherman who just loved being on a lake or stream, sometimes fishing all night. His whole family enjoyed this activity because of his enthusiasm for it and his great teaching skills. Everyone's goal on a camping-fishing trip was to get the first, the biggest and the most. Art was an expert at tying his own flies and was always ready to learn from his fly-fishing club buddies, a club he, Ken Allein and Mike Roberts organized. Art was a people person who believed and practiced the concept that people are more important than things. He was never too busy to help someone or just talk. He rescued students at any time of the night or day when they got in over their heads, and provided a couch for a night, week or months, and a ride whenever they needed. Nothing was more rewarding for Art then to run into one of his former or present students and catch up. He was always so proud of them and their accomplishments. Art is survived by his wife, Winnie; children: Jed (Mary) Neilson, Bountiful, Chris (Jill) Neilson, Bountiful, Paula (Craig) Lawson, Hitchcock, Texas, Tana Neilson, So. Jordan, Brad (Alice) Neilson, North Salt Lake; grandchildren: Rebecca, Hailey, Abbey & Maddie Neilson, Brock (Kelly), Brennan, Tanner, Danielle & Parker Neilson, Kelby & Kensey Neilson, Meaghann & Christian Smith, Sean Lawson, Rachel Lawson (Dustin) Borchert, and great-grandchildren Nathan, Kayelea, Ryland & Ava Borchert, and many choice nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Norma Kotter, Ruth Neilson, Dona Fern Christensen, brothers David and Frank Neilson, and beloved grandson Brayden Neilson. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, April 20, 2017 at the Porter Lane 1st Ward, 437 West Porter Lane, Centerville. Visitations will be held Wednesday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main, Bountiful and Thursday morning 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment will be at the Fairview City Cemetery at approximately 4:00 p.m. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com .
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