Earl Ray Nelson


Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave in a well-preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, “Holy shit, what a ride” -Hunter S. Thomson

On April 20, 2022, Earl Ray Nelson did just that, after a long battle with multiple cancers. Earl was born on the kitchen table of his family home in Ferron Utah on June 11, 1946. He was the 7th child of Gladys and Bryant Nelson and his favorite memories are spending time with his father on the mountain hunting and herding cattle and helping his mother make soap.

Earl proudly served in the US Navy aboard USS Platte from 1967 to 1970 and saw many parts of the world while on tour. He was also a member of the Bee’s Motorcycle Club, who hosted the Widowmaker Hill Climb in Draper, Utah from 1963 to 1988, as well as several desert races in the west desert of Northern Utah. Earl moved back to Ferron in 1975 to work as a diesel mechanic in the Wilberg Mine. After the 1984 fire, he went to work at Trail Mountain as an outside loader operator. Earl also served on the mine rescue team for both mines until retirement. Never one to sit still, after he retired, Earl got a job for “something to do” and drove for Hugo Trucking for several years, then worked part time in the summer for Emery County Road Department until the age of 74. For those of us who knew and loved Earl, we always looked forward to our traditional rides and camping trips, starting with Easter weekend on the San Rafael Swell, where Earl would share stories of herding cattle with his dad and the Native American Petroglyphs and Pictographs. He really enjoyed taking anyone out to the desert or Manti-LaSal mountains and to show all the hidden treasures that only the locals of Emery County know about. It was always a great time when Earl was around, telling stories and jokes, although most of them were inappropriate. And no matter where you went, Earl would always see someone he knew and would make a few new friends with any strangers we met. Another family tradition is the Elk Hunt. Earl loved elk camp and we have many fond memories spent with family and friends; a tradition that will be continued by his family.

Earl is survived by his wife, Colleen and his children Cindy, Roger (Vickie), Cassie (Steve), Kim, Chelsea (Jason), and Charlie (Susan); 17 Grandchildren; 13 Great-Grandchildren and 3 Great-Great Grandchildren; his brother, Jim Nelson and several very close friends. Preceded in death by his parents, Gladys Braithwaite and Bryant Nelson, sisters Dora Dean Snow, LaRue Pettiti, and Glenna Nelson; Brothers Glade Nelson and Joseph Nelson. Mary Chapman Nelson and several good friends.

The family would like to thank Huntsman Cancer teams for all their care and support during the last few years as well as those friends who kept in touch and offered to help anytime Earl and Colleen needed it.

Graveside services will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 11:00 AM at the Ferron City Cemetery.

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