Erma Madsen Nelson
July 31, 1919 – November 30, 2019
Mother of David (Shirley), Dale (Linda), Lynn, LuAnn Snyder, Sylvia (Brent) Barney. Grandmother of 13, Great Grandmother of 25, Great-Great Grandmother of 1.
Viewing: 11am Funeral: 12 noon Friday, December 6, 2019, at Valley View 10th Ward, 1985 E 3900 S, Salt Lake City, UT
Internment Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park & Mortuary 3401 S Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, UT
Erma Madsen Nelson witnessed an entire century - she passed from this life and into the arms of waiting family members November 30, 2019, at the age of 100 years. She died peacefully at her home in Salt Lake City, Utah surrounded by her family and her caregivers. She fulfilled her wish of never having to move from her home of 72 years.
Erma was born on July 31, 1919, in Salt Lake City, Utah to Elmer LeRoy Madsen and Sarah Evelyn Ellsworth. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 62 years, Louis Charles Nelson. She was the third of seven children and outlmived her six siblings and their spouses. Donald Madsen (Edith), Richard Wayne Madsen (Helen), Lela Potomac Winzenreid (Jesse), Rae Kern (Reese), Myra Peggy Mabey (Douglas), Evelyn Bee Kimball (Edward). Great-Grandson Roan William McClain, Grandson Greg Louis Nelson and Son-in-law Roy Ashworth Snyder. Also, she had a sister, Edna Mae, who passed away in only four months in 1918.
This is a portion of what Erma wrote for her sister Lela’s funeral: “I was the oldest of five girls and we had two older brothers. The six oldest children were born at home; only Bee (the youngest) was born in the hospital. I never wished for or wanted dolls because from the time I was three, and Lela was born, I had real live babies to care for and love. My mother would place the babies in my arms and I fell in love with my four baby sisters. These were my babies and then my friends. Lela and I shared a room - there was a big tree right outside our bedroom window always full of red-winged blackbirds that sang endlessly.
We were born on a seven-acre farm with seven flowing wells. The big ditch was the north boundary and to the south were endless fields full of little streams, a fishpond and abounding with wild flowers where we had many picnics. We all milked cows morning and evening from the time we were old enough to hold a lard bucket between our knees. Over the years it grew into a successful Guernsey dairy farm. Millcreek ward, with the chapel with the life sized stained glass window of Jesus holding a lamb, was the center of our social life. Because of the depression, the amusement hall was our entertainment – movies and parties because no one had any money.”
Erma graduated from Granite High School in 1935, not yet 16. She was already petite and was younger than her classmates because she was academically talented and skipped second grade. Always a voracious reader, she instilled the love of reading in her children.
She met Lou, the love of her life, at a dance at Saltair and they were immediately smitten. They were married at the Salt Lake Temple, July 8, 1939. He passed away April 7, 2001. She mourned his passing everyday for 18 years. They had five children that they loved and always put first. They were partners in everything and built a happy, successful life together.
Erma was a born nurturer. She was her mother’s “best helper” at the farm where she grew up and spent her life as caring for, loving and protecting the living things around her.
From the dairy farm she grew up in at 4th East and 39th South - to the home Lou & Erma built themselves just a few miles away, their hobby and passion was the love of the garden and growing things. The yard was an eclectic mix of beautiful flowers & bushes and a productive garden and fruit trees. Erma’s roses outdid themselves for her because she encouraged their growth and development, just as she did with her five children. Her house was always a refuge for comfort and security.
One of the things they loved to do is “share the bounty”. They had so many fruit trees, vegetable plants, and berry bushes that there was an abundance to put into baskets and buckets and share with the neighbors. Part of that was distributing more than they could use, but a big part of it was a reason to stop by and be neighborly. Being part of a neighborhood, a community and a church was important to them and part of the culture they were raised in.
Erma taught Primary for 40 plus years. For the most part she taught the “Stars” – the five-year-olds. She absolutely loved the children and loved that age group. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a big part of her life and she lived her entire life with her unwavering testimony.
Many thanks to Lucy Vite and her family for their loyal loving care these past four years. They cared for Erma in the kind of sweet, nurturing way that Erma had always cared for others. You have our eternal gratitude.
- Viewing Prior to Funeral Service Friday, December 6, 2019
- Funeral Services Friday, December 6, 2019
Erma Madsen Nelson
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December 4, 2019
Erma would faithfully walk with her little dog up and down the neighborhood streets, I enjoyed watching her show patience and love towards her small dog, overtime she added a cane or walking stick for her stability and shortened her walk distance but remained faithful to her walk with her small dog, I counted on seeing her daily, unless it was stormy, she was kind and sweet she would smile as people passed by, Erma was a gentle spirit, when Erma was unable to continue walking, I still would think of her every day at what would be her normal walk time, I send my sympathies to the family, it is hard to lose your mother no matter her age.