By Mabell, Dave on January 8, 2020.
A funeral service will be held this morning for the southern Alberta patriarch of a large family-owned ranching and gravel operation.
Grant Cahoon Nelson died Jan. 4 in the Raymond hospital at 74 years of age.
The service will be held at 11 a.m. today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Stirling, with burial to follow in the Stirling cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Connie, eight children, 39 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Nelson Family Farms, which grew into a successful diversified business during his tenure, traces its roots to 1904 when Alonso Nelson and three brothers moved north from Utah and began farming.
Alonso’s son Farrell grew the operation, raising cattle, sheep, sugar beets, grain and hay near Stirling. His son Grant became part of the business after graduating from university in 1968.
Long a proponent of mixed farming, Grant Nelson expanded the family business to include purebred cattle breeding, feeder cattle operations, hay and grain, custom farming and a gravel pit.
The Nelson holdings also include the Sunset Lake Properties development on the south shore of Ridge Reservoir near Raymond and a 26,000-acre property formerly known as the Remington Ranch, as well as a ranch guest house and reception hall near Del Bonita.
Born in Lethbridge, Nelson served a church mission in Australia after completing high school. Later in life, he and his wife served a mission in Wyoming.
But most of his life was spent in Stirling, where he also served as bishop for his church.
Nelson’s community contributions included terms as a Warner county councillor, longtime president of the Stirling Lions Club – and the driving force behind construction of Stirling’s community centre.
“He was a doer,” says oldest son Jeff Nelson.
Another of his father’s projects, he adds, was the local soccer field.
“He’s always been a huge part of our community.”
In recent years, the son points out, Nelson spent much of his time as an active grandfather – driving the youngsters to games, music activities, 4H meetings and their many other interests.
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