Chris Vance Neilson, our beloved husband, father, papa, son, and brother, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on October 14, 2023, at Huntsman Cancer Institute after a valiant fight with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was 62 years old. Chris’ life was devoted to his love for his family and the Savior. The gospel of Jesus Christ was always the foundation of his life. He enjoyed serving in the church throughout his life. From working with the young men to serving as a Bishop and a counselor in a Stake Presidency he found joy in the gospel.
Born May 28, 1961, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Chris was an answer to the prayers of his parents, Arthur O. and Winnie V. Neilson. He grew up in Bountiful, Utah and graduated from Viewmont High School in 1979. He was a leader from the very beginning and a friend to all. You could find him gathering all the kids in the neighborhood to play football, baseball, basketball or just ride around on bikes. Everyone looked up to him as he was smart, quick witted, encouraging and made sure everyone was included.
He loved serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tampa, Florida mission. He studied organizational communications at the University of Utah and when he finished went to work for SmithKline Beecham in Denver, Colorado. A few years later he went to work for a small food brokerage company - McFerrin, Speaks and Gustafson which was later bought by a large firm called Acosta Sales and Marketing where he still worked until his passing. Chris worked incredibly hard to provide for his family. He had a strong work ethic and loved working in the grocery industry, most recently as the SVP/Albertsons Team Leader nationally. One of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, he knew the business inside and out but ultimately he cared more about the people working with him than he did about the numbers. Several of his team members have described him as the best boss ever because his priorities were always in the right place.
He married the love of his life, Jill Westergard on November 24, 1987, in the Salt Lake Temple. A year later they moved to Westminster, Colorado to begin his career and start their family. Their oldest son Brock was born and soon after they moved to Castle Rock, CO where four more children were born, Brennan, Tanner, Danielle, and Parker. After 14 years in Colorado, work in the grocery industry moved the family back to Utah for two years and then to Boise, Idaho for three years. When SuperValu bought Albertsons the family moved to Eden Prairie, Minnesota (Minneapolis) and they loved their time there. Ultimately wanting to live closer to their families they moved back to Bountiful, UT in 2013 and most recently to Highland, UT in 2020 to live closer to their children. Chris loved his family more than anything and was so proud of them. He taught them by example to work hard, love the Lord, be kind to others and to be a man of your word.
Chris is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Jill, his children, Brock (Kelly) Neilson, Brennan Neilson, Tanner Neilson, Danielle (Jared) Lowe, Parker Neilson; 3 grandchildren, Collins, Liam and Ricki; his mother Winnie Neilson, his siblings, Jed (Mary) Neilson, Paula (Craig) Lawson, Tana Neilson, Brad (Alice) Neilson and his In-laws, Ray and Louise Westergard, Rob and Kristin Westergard, Jennifer Westergard, Ryan and DeAnn Westergard, Randy and Stacie Westergard, Russ and Khara Westergard. He is preceded in death by his father, Arthur Neilson.
The family would like to thank the anonymous donor who donated his bone marrow to save Chris’ life. We would also like to thank the doctors and nurses at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah for their kind and compassionate care of Chris as he went through his bone marrow transplant in February 2023 and also as he fought AML inpatient for 2 weeks before he died. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Huntsman Cancer Institute Hematologic (bone marrow, blood) https://give.huntsmancancer.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel, 6411 West 11800 North, Highland, Utah, where a viewing will be held Saturday morning from 9:30-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment- Bountiful City Cemetery.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.