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Hilda Nelson

Hilda Nelson

Hilda Nelson, 85, boarded her long-awaited Heavenly-bound Train on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. She passed through the Pearly Gates peacefully, at Rogue Valley Medical Center, after suffering complications from a stroke.

Hilda was born in Bellflower, Calif. on October 25, 1923, to Thomas and Phyllis Heap. Her family lived a nomadic lifestyle, at times living in tents at Mona Lake, Calif., and eventually moved to the booming gold mining town of Bodi, Calif., now a national historic park with all the buildings preserved as they were in the 1930s and 40s. She had the joy of traveling back to Bodi in 1999, and had quite a time, as the Park Rangers discovered that she had actually lived there. Her family was moved from the high altitude location of Bodi in 1930 by a fellow resident, none other than Conrad Hilton, of Hilton Hotel fame, as her mother was experiencing altitude sickness associated with being pregnant. Hilda always remembered riding down the mountain road, in Mr. Hilton's car, to the Yerington, Nevada area, where her brother, David, would be born.

The Heap family eventually settled in the Rogue Valley, where Hilda attended Hanby Grade and High School, in Gold Hill. Hilda later met her loving husband of 62 years, Allen Nelson, while he was a soldier stationed at Camp White, in what is now White City, Ore. Allen and Hilda were married on Feb. 23, 1944. After combat duty in Italy during WWII, Allen returned and settled with Hilda in the Rogue Valley, where he began a long career at Harry and David, while Hilda became a homemaker and mother. Hilda thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors, and their many family camping and fishing trips, always chiding those who did not bait their own hook, that they were not really true fisherpersons.

Hilda was preceded in death by her parents; husband; sisters, Dorothy and Ramona; and brothers, Kenneth, Albert, Donald, and David. She is survived by her sister, Hazel; brother, Laurence; three sons, Daniel (Charon), Allen (Jan), and David (Shawn); grandchildren, Kristi, Kori, Amy, Carly, Holly, Seth, and Matthew. Hilda was also blessed by 10 great-grandchildren, Chloe, Logan, Corbin, Christian, Kail, Zane, Zander, Kaleb, Makhena and Lyla.

Coming from a large family, Hilda also touched the lives of an endless array of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She will always be fondly remembered as a woman of incredible Christian faith, who loved her church and family, and led by example, always being admired and loved by family & friends, alike. All who had the privilege of knowing her were blessed by her simple gifts of love, unconditional acceptance and loyalty.

A viewing will be at Hillcrest Memorial Park on N. Phoenix Road in Medford, on Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, from 3-7 p.m., the last hour of which will be closed-casket. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Hilda's beloved Medford First Church of the Nazarene, 1974 E. McAndrews Road, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, followed by a potluck luncheon and time of fellowship with friends and family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that a donation be made, in Hilda's honor, to Medford First Church of the Nazarene.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever ~ Isaiah 40:8

Hilda Nelson