Nelda M. Williams 2-14-24

Nelda M. Williams, 100, died at her home on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. She was born to Elmer M. and Susan Thomas Ward in Malad City, ID, in 1923. She spent her childhood going to school in Malad and the one-room schoolhouse in Arbon Valley.
Nelda’s affection for Arbon Valley, fondly referred to as Bannock Valley by the old-timers, bloomed early in her life and has endured throughout her remarkable 100 years. Her connection to the valley runs deep, rooted in her family’s history. Her grandfather, Jesse Nicholas Ward, carved out a homestead in Arbon Valley, a legacy passed down to Nelda’s father before her birth.
Growing up, Nelda split her time between her parents’ winter residence in Malad and her grandparents’ rustic homestead cabin in Arbon during the summers. These formative years were spent immersed in the rhythms of farm life, where she eagerly lent a hand alongside her family, tending to the land and nurturing their livelihood.
Nelda, the fourth generation of Welch pioneers in the Malad Valley, grew up amidst the challenges of the Great Depression. Her shared heritage and upbringing connected her with D.T. “Sod” Williams, a spirited neighbor from the rowdy Williams family. He used to walk with her to school as kids, and she never thought much about him. But by high school, Nelda adjusted her walking pace so Sod could keep up, eventually the walks with Sod became the start of an inseparable bond.
While Sod worked in the Daniels area feeding cattle, Nelda hastened to finish school, and on Jan. 1, 1942, they became husband and wife. Their early months together were spent snowed in Daniels, tending to cattle with a team of horses and a sled. Nelda cherished these moments, remembering them as the best honeymoon. Throughout her life, she found joy in the prospect of being snowed in for the winter.
Their first son, Barry, came into the world in May of 1943. Soon after, with their month-old son, the young family moved to Arbon Valley. Initially, Sod worked for the Joe Arbon family for a brief period before being drafted into World War II. During Sod’s time away at war, Nelda and Barry remained in the Valley, Nelda dedicated herself to working with her dad on the farm.
Upon Sod’s return from the war, they diligently worked to establish their life in Arbon Valley. In 1953, their family expanded with the arrival of a second son, Brad. The family’s endeavors included farming, ranching, raising and showing horses, and participating in rodeo activities. Nelda also served several years as a rural mail carrier, showcasing her dedication to both family and community.
The couple shared a love for outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, pack trips, snowmobiling, and joyfully chasing after their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In 1994, when Sod faced an accident, Nelda selflessly took on the responsibility of caring for him, ensuring their continued involvement in family and community affairs.
She celebrated their 82nd wedding anniversary this past January, despite Sod’s passing in 2001. In the years following his departure, Nelda devoted herself to preserving their cherished memories, raising funds for veterans, carrying on their family’s ranching heritage, and nurturing her beloved Arbon Valley. Her commitment to family, community, and the legacy they built together shines through her in her resilient spirit, her family, and her enduring love.
Survivors include her son, Brad (Jihong Judy). Hesperia, CA; her grandchildren, Travis (Heather) Williams, Glenns Ferry and Arbon, ID; Justin (Melanie) Williams, Arbon, ID; Jason (Dejanet) Williams, Arbon, ID; Tina (Jared) Simpson, Malad, ID, and Congress, AZ; Trevor (Deziray) Williams, Arbon, ID; April Williams (Richard Yerkovich), Ventura, CA; and Kaylene (Ryan) Loveland, Bremerton, WA. She had 22 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, Barry Williams (Valorie); husband, D.T. “Sod” Williams; grandson Jody, her parents, and her siblings: Elmer, Helen, Eileen, and Darrel.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at the Pocatello Stake Center on 655 S. Grant Avenue, Pocatello, ID. Burial will follow at the Arbon Valley Cemetery. Family and friends may visit Colonial Funeral Home, 2005 S. 4th Avenue, Pocatello, ID, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 20 at the Stake Center. Services may be viewed live by clicking on the link.
Donations can be made to the American Legion, Roland Evans Post No. 3, PO Box 42, American Falls, ID 83211. Arrangements are under the direction of Colonial Funeral Home, Pocatello. .

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