Dantzel White Nelson was the first wife of Russell M. Nelson, the current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She passed away unexpectedly on February 12, 2005, at her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her husband was with her at the time. The cause of death was not immediately known, and funeral arrangements were pending. She was 78 years old.
A Life of Music and Service
Dantzel White Nelson was born on February 17, 1926, on her family’s farm in Perry, Utah. She was the fifth of seven children of LeRoy Davis White and Maude Clark White. She developed a love of music at an early age, inspired by her older sister who was bedridden with a childhood illness. She participated in singing lessons and performed at school assemblies. She graduated as the “Outstanding Senior Girl” from Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah.
She attended the University of Utah on a scholarship, where she met Russell M. Nelson, a medical student. They were both cast members in a Broadway-bound musical, “Hayfoot, Strawfoot”. They dated for three years and married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 31, 1945. She supported her husband as he pursued his medical education and career, living in Minnesota, Washington D.C., and Boston, before returning to Salt Lake City in 1956. She earned a bachelor of science degree in education with a secondary certification, and taught music and speech at elementary schools.
She was the mother of ten children, nine daughters and one son. She devoted her life to raising her family, participating in their educational activities, and serving in the community and the church. She was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 20 years, and sang at many church and civic events. She also served in various church callings, such as Relief Society president, Primary president, and Sunday School teacher.
A Legacy of Love and Faith
Dantzel White Nelson was a woman of great faith, love, and compassion. She was a loyal and supportive companion to her husband, who was called as an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1984. She accompanied him on his travels and assignments around the world, and shared his testimony and ministry. She was a loving and nurturing mother to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was a friend and mentor to many people, and touched countless lives with her kindness and generosity.
She faced many challenges and trials in her life, such as the untimely death of her daughter Emily, a young mother of five children, in 1995. She endured these hardships with grace and courage, and relied on her faith and family for strength and comfort. She was an example of optimism, gratitude, and joy. She expressed her love for her husband and family in a monthly newsletter, the Nelson News, which she originated and maintained for more than 20 years.
Dantzel White Nelson cause of death was a shock and a sorrow to many people who knew and loved her. She left behind a legacy of music, service, love, and faith that will continue to inspire and bless generations to come. She was a remarkable woman who lived a remarkable life. She will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.