Merrill Gene Nielson, age 84, passed away on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at the Seasons of Santaquin care facility in Santaquin, Utah. He was born on November 19, 1934 in Lynndyl, Utah, the sixth child of his loving parents, LaClead and Eleanor Jane Ashby Nielson. He was raised in Lynndyl growing up working on the family farm. Merrill attended Delta High School where he was Student Body President and excelled in wrestling and football. He married his high school sweetheart, Mary Kae Henrie, on July 9, 1954 in the Manti LDS Temple.
Merrill attended BYU and graduated in 1957. While there he joined the ROTC, and after entered the Army Air Corps. He proudly served in the Air Force for 30 years, retiring as a full Colonel. He was a special agent for the OSI (Office of Special Investigations), and was also trained as a jet pilot. Merrill and Kae lived in the Philippines, Washington DC, Thailand, Germany, and Virginia. Upon retiring he returned to his beloved Lynndyl in 1990. While living in Germany, he also earn a Masters Degree. He was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, serving as a bishop, in Stake Presidency, High Council and Patriarch of the Delta Utah Stake. He served a mission managing the Deseret Industries for 18 months. He served as Mayor of Lynndyl and volunteer caretaker of Lynndyl Cemetery. He enjoyed collecting rocks and paperweights, books, riding ATVs and spending time with his family.
Merrill is survived by his wife: Mary Kae Nielson; children: Dean (Linda) Nielson, Marshal, Michigan; Paul (Karen) Nielson, Eugene, Oregon; Bruce (Linda) Nielson, Vienna, Virgina; Mark (Lynell) Nielson, Snowhomish, Washington; 21 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren; brother: Allen Nielson, Lynndyl. He was preceded in death by brothers: Howard, Phil, Dean (killed in WWII), and Robert; sister: Carmen Stewart; granddaughter: Dannah Kay; grandson: Norman Wooten.
Funeral Services will be held on Monday, January 21, at 11:00 am, at the Leamington LDS Chapel, 90 South Center St. Viewings will be held at the Leamington Church on Sunday evening, 6-8 pm; and Monday, 9:30-10:40 am, prior to the service. Burial will be in the Lynndyl Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the LDS Missionary Fund or the charity of your choice.