Norman Nelson Obituary (1926 – 2021) – Salt Lake City, UT

Norman Dean Nelson

1926 – 2021 / A life well lived

Salt Lake City, Utah – Norman Dean Nelson left this world the way he wanted on September 30, 2021 after 95 years of a life well lived and enjoyed.

Norman Dean Nelson was born in Salt Lake City on August 21, 1926, the youngest and eighth children of Sterling H. and Elsa Alberta Marie Sorenson Nelson.

Norm was well known as a teenager in his Highland Park neighborhood, and nicknamed Hope during his years as a student at East High School and the University of Utah. Due to a serious back injury, Norm was unable to qualify for military service, but wanted to participate in military service. In 1943 he left home to work in the cafeteria at the Terminal Island Naval Base. This brief stay was followed by several seasons as a waiter in Sun Valley and finally as maître d ‘at the Grand Canyon Lodge, where he met a charming waitress and future wife, Janet Horsley. Hope and Jan were married on April 20, 1950. Their marriage was solemnly married on their 10th anniversary in the Salt Lake Temple.

Norm grew up with his brothers in the family business Sterling Nelson and Sons, Inc. transporting fruit over the summer. In 1950 he joined the business full time as co-manager of Murray Elevators, a specialty feed company, a subsidiary of Nelson and Sons. Within a few years, Norm and his brothers Don and Cal developed a thriving business producing trout and salmon feed under the Sterling Silver Cup brand. Norm worked in this company as production manager until his retirement in 1990.

Norm has been an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served as a Master Scout, elders quorum president, bishop, and high counselor. One month after he retired from business, Norm and Jan were called to serve on the island of Kauai. Three years later they served a second mission, this time at the St. George Temple Visitor Center. He often said that he had served ‘twice in Paradise’: “Somebody had to do it.” As a man of great faith, his life was an unwavering example of love and service to his family and those who knew him.

Norm and Jan split their time between their homes in Salt Lake and St. George. Because of his love of year-round tennis and golf, he and Jan bought a loft-style house set against a majestic red cliff in Bloomington. Shortly thereafter, they added a lovely tennis court so that friends and family can have a quaint hangout for annual tennis, golf, and hiking get-togethers. Norm loved nothing more than playing 18 holes with friends and family members, who often included his son Dana, Jan and a host of grandchildren. His dedication to the game served him well when he shot dead his 86 years old! He passed this passion for golf on to his son Dana. Nothing has given him more pleasure in recent years than enjoying the successes that Dana had on the pitch. Norm loved having fun and was always ready for a game of Hearts. He viewed each hand as a possible “Shoot the Moon” win. Norm’s children and grandchildren benefited from his love of fun, his goofy humor, and his genuine interest in their lives. Most notable is Norm’s generosity. He leaves a legacy of people who have been the beneficiaries of his time and resources.

Jan and Norm have been the perfect team for 72 years. Her oldest son, Eric, battled schizophrenia early in his life. In response, she and two other concerned couples saw the need for a program that addressed the social, professional, and educational needs of their adult children with mental health problems. In the mid-1980s, Jan and Norm became founding members of Alliance House, Inc., using a clubhouse-like environment to empower people with mental illness to reintegrate into their community and become more independent and productive adults. They tirelessly supported these efforts physically and financially for over 30 years. Today Alliance House is considered to be the leader in this worldwide clubhouse model. Norm served on the board and as president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in Utah. He was also the director of Valley Mental Health. Among the many awards he received for his work in the mental health field was the prestigious Norman S. Anderson Award, which he won with Jan.

Norm leaves behind his wife, Janet H. Nelson, and five children. Christina Nelson McLaren (Kent), Laguna Niguel, CA, Hope Nelson Lovill (James), Fairfax, CA, Sara Nelson Bradshaw, SLC, and J. Dana Nelson (Alayna), SLC. He was the proud grandfather of Callie, Courtney, Sky, Parker, Kendall, Quinn, Logan, Campbell and Hadley, as well as the loving great-grandfather of Miles, Micah, Holland Hope and Cannon and his niece Lynn Taylor. Norm was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and son Eric Peter Nelson. We will miss Norm very much until we meet with him again.

Friends are invited to visit the family on Thursday evening, October 7th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. or on Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. before the funeral for Norms Leben at 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 8 in LDS Chapel, 4176 South Adonis Drive (3950 East). After the service, the funeral and grave consecration will take place at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park 3401 S. Highland.

Instead of flowers, friends are encouraged to donate to Alliance House, Inc. Donations can be made through their website at

Published by Desertet News October 5-8, 2021.

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