Karen  Nelson

Karen Lee Nelson, 73, passed away on Monday, September 13, 2021, at Homestead Senior Living in Rexburg. Karen was born on April 19, 1948, in Idaho Falls, Idaho to Orval Bailey and Barbara Beeton Bailey. Her family would expand to include Karolyne, Kristina, KayLynn, Kenneth, and Kelley. She loved to dance and at an early age (4 or 5 years old) she would dance on the stage if the old Paramount Theater. Never did she know that the love of dance would define her life in the years to come. Summers included fishing with her dad, playing games in the evenings with the neighbor kids (no bears are out tonight, hide and seek, and many others), swimming in the city pool, and walking down to Murphy's Market to buy penny candy. Her education started at Hawthorne Elementary, O.E. Bell Jr. High School, and Idaho Falls High School home of the "TIGERS". While in high school she participated in the Tigerettes drill team and was the drill mistress her senior year. She studied the Spanish language and fell in love with it. Her goal in life was to attend college (BYU-Provo), become an educator, teach the Spanish language, be married in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple, become a mother, have children, raise a family, and watch her grandchildren grow. She accomplished all of her goals. Now the rest of the story: Karen worked hard all her life. While in high school she worked after school and on Saturdays to help pay for her clothes and other needs. She was able to pay for her college education by working and scholarships she earned with good grades in high school. She attended BYU-Provo and studied Spanish and P.E. with an emphasis on dance. She auditioned with the BYU Folk dancers and made the team. She was part of the team all four years that she attended school. She performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and in Hartford, Connecticut. In August of 1968, she met Keith Nelson who at the time was deployed to Vietnam to support the war effort. His National Guard unit the 116th Engineer Battalion was call to active duty in April 1968. Mom and Dad wrote to each other from August 1968 until June 1969. Dad rotates home because his 6-year enlistment was completed. They dated that summer and were married in the Idaho Falls Temple on October 11, 1969. The couple moved to Provo, Utah and Mom continued her education. However, because we are not in control of 'everything in our lives' mom had to drop out if school with one semester remaining. She went to work at the A & W Drive In and cooked hamburgers for the staggering wage of $1.00 an hour to pay for the birth of their first child, Keith Brian on September 2, 1970. He would be joined with Jessica Leigh on June 20, 1974, Bart Joshua on February 16, 1976, and Jaime Ra on October 3, 1977, to complete the Nelson family. Mom returned to BYU the summer of 1971 and graduated in August of that year. She started teaching at Clair E Gale Junior High School and would later transfer to Idaho Falls High School. She taught there for 40 plus years and often would say "I graduated from High School in 1966, went to college, went back to high school, and spent my life there." While at the high school she taught PE, coached girls track, girls basketball, girls volleyball, and of course her beloved Spanish. She would later become the Spanish Department Head for the Idaho Falls High School. She was responsible for the game management for the sports activities at the high school and spent many evenings selling tickets for the basketball, football, and track activities. Her children became GYM rats. They spent a lot of time at the school with her and their dad. On June 6, 1975, tragedy struck their world when their oldest child, Keith Brian, was hit by a car in front of the family home and died as a result of the accident. That was one of the hardest trials mom and dad would have in their lives. Time goes on and the ship was righted, sails unfurled to catch the wind, and the USS Nelson Family was again making headway. Mom coached T-Ball in the summers and always had a car full of kids traveling to ball games. Mom and Dad had to buy a suburban to have enough room for all the kids. Mom learned how important visiting teaching was as a young mother by a wonderful Sister by the name Lapreal Walker. Mom would later be called to teach in the Primary, Sunday School, Relief Society, serve in the Stake Relief Society, and be called to be a Relief Society President in the Lincoln First Ward. Mom made the best banana bread and zucchini bread, and she would deliver many loaves throughout the wards they lived in. They called it a "random drive by breading". She loved to crochet burp clothes and bath hoodies for the new mothers in their wards, and she donated over 100 burp clothes to the maternity wards of the two local hospitals. She always said that her greatest accomplishments were her children and her grandchildren. She loved them with all her heart. She loved the Lord, His Gospel, life, and working as an Ordinance Worker in the Idaho Falls Temple. The last 4 or 5 years took its toll on her and at times was not too kind. Mortality it seems has its own agenda. She will be missed greatly by her family and friends. We love you and miss you mom. Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 17, 2021, at Ammon Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:30-8:00 p.m., Thursday, September 16, 2021, at Coltrin Mortuary, 2100 First Street, Idaho Falls. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.coltrinmortuary.com. Karen 4/19/1948 - 9/13/2021Lee Nelson

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