Gaylen Joe Nelson, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend passed away on May 12, 2022, surrounded by his loving family at home in St. George, Utah. He was a true warrior, battling many years of pain.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Archie and Pearl Nelson on February 6, 1935. Gaylen married his sweetheart, Deanna, on June 15, 1956, at Memory Grove in Salt Lake City. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He graduated from East High School and attended the University of Utah. Gaylen worked for Paramount Pictures and later retired from Coastal Oil, formerly known as Garrett Freightlines.
Gaylen was a meticulous landscaper and found joy in watching his flowers bloom and making others happy as they stopped by to see his incredible creations!
He loved and excelled in many sports throughout his lifetime, including baseball, tennis, and lawn bowling just to name a few. He was a great pitcher on East High School’s baseball team and went on to play semi-pro. Lawn bowling later became his passion when he moved to the Sun River community in St. George. He enjoyed traveling with his wife to play in a variety of tournaments where he met wonderful people and won many medals.
Outdoor activities brought Gaylen much happiness. Home barbecues, camping, and fishing were some of his favorites.
He had a very special place in his heart for animals. He loved and cared for each one of them, especially his cat, Sophie.
Service was something that gave Gaylen great fulfillment. He unselfishly went about teaching his many talents to those around him, without pay.
Gaylen was always there for his children in everything they did. He supported them in every sport they played, by either coaching or attending a variety of their athletic events. Also, supporting his wife every step of the way in their life together.
We will all miss him more than words can express, but we are so thankful we have the knowledge that we will be with him again. Our hearts are full of love and gratitude for all he did for us and will always cherish the incredible memories we carry.
The family would like to express a special thank you to Sunny, the hospice nurse who helped Gaylen, for the amazing personal care that she provided.
Gaylen is survived by Deanna (his wife), Steve (Lynn) Nelson, Lori (Dave) Sperry, Sheryl (Chris) Nepolis, 9 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, granddaughter Aubrey, two sisters, and two nephews.
Funeral services for Gaylen will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 11:30 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sun River 2nd Ward, 4461 South Country Club Drive, St. George, Utah. There will be a visitation prior to the services from 10:30 – 11:30 am, at the same location. The interment will take place at Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 South Dixie Drive, St. George, Utah.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. 435-673-2454.
Family and friends are invited to sign Gaylen’s online guest book at