Obituaries » Willard LeRoy Oakeson
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October 11, 1931 - November 18, 2020
Burial Date November 27, 2020
Funeral Home Russon Mortuary Farmington
Willard Oakeson of Farmington passed away on November 18th, 2020, at the age of 89. He was born on October 11th, 1931 in Union (Midvale), Utah. He was the fourth of six children born to Martha Lucile Carlsen and Francis Emil Oakeson. At the age of seven the family moved to their farm in Taylorsville. Growing up, he did his fair share of work in the sugar beet fields along with other farm chores. He liked learning and graduated from Cyprus High School.
As a young man he served a faithful mission to the North Central States. He was grateful for his mission and it proved to be filled with personal growth and spiritual experiences. When he returned from his mission, he attended LDS Business College. It was there Willard fell in love with Nelda Haderlie of Freedom, Wyoming. He was drafted into the army and began his training to serve in the Korean War. Willard and Nelda had a 45-day courtship, and on a three-day military leave, they were married in the Logan Utah Temple on July 29, 1953. Shortly after, he was deployed to Korea to serve his country.
He graduated from Radio Institute in Salt Lake City. After several moves, they settled in Farmington and lived there for 56 years. They had six children, five daughters and one son. He worked at Hill Air Force Base for 29 years working on simulated trainers for aircraft, electronic testing equipment, and as an Equipment Specialist managing the central air data computer system on the F-4 airplane.
After retiring, Willard worked as a handyman for 20 years, a job he loved. He worked on many apartment complexes and on projects for local families. He was gifted at fixing things and people appreciated his service and personality.
Willard had a positive outlook on life, and it lifted those around him. He always tried to make the most of a challenge and see the good aspects of it. As a young father he enjoyed exploring the mines on the Farmington hillside, riding motorcycles, playing the guitar, hiking the Uintas, river rafting, using the small sailboat he built, and seeing the sights of Southern Utah. He planned fun family vacations in the western United States and to Canada and Mexico. For decades the extended family bonded with reunions at Bear Lake. In his later years he enjoyed walking the Lagoon trail and seeing Farmington Pond. He loved America and was proud to fly the flag. During his lifetime he was privileged to visit all 50 states. He used his creativity to organize things and problem solve. He was a life-long learner and even tried his hand at painting.
His family and the gospel were his greatest joys. He had a special bond with the baby grandchildren and carried them on little tours around the house. He liked being together as a family, singing around the piano, spending time in the backyard, picnicking on the shaded patio, and gathering around his firepit.
He was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served in many callings during his lifetime. He was a great example of missionary work. In addition to his youth mission, he also served a mission at church headquarters in the Family History department. He and Nelda served as couple missionaries in the Oakland California Mission. He also volunteered at Church headquarters in the Mission Finance department. He loved attending the temple and served as an ordinance worker. He spent time and energy reaching out to many people to share the truths of the gospel and his testimony of Jesus Christ. He had a deep knowledge of the scriptures. He will be remembered for his strong character and the values he lived by. He was a consistent strength to our family. We will miss his humble prayers, smiles, laugh, and big open armed hugs.
He is survived by his six children: Shirley Smart (Craig), Carol Hess (Terry), Marie Harris (Brian), Ralph (FaNae Rock), Elaine Hills (Kurt), and Donna Semadeni (Marc), 22 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Gwendolyn (John Smith) and sister-in-law Yvonne Oakeson Herring. He is preceded in death by his wife, Nelda, his parents, his siblings Francis, Lucille, Wendell, and Leslie, and his great-granddaughter Merideth Smart.
Due to COVID-19, funeral services will be held with the immediate family on Friday, November 27th. Family Viewing 9:00 a.m. and Family Service 10:30 a.m. at Russon Mortuary in Farmington. Friends and extended family may view the service live on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/russonmortuary. (Click on the link to take you to the service).