Marion C. Nelson, 93, prominent business and civic leader in the intermountain area died, Tuesday, November 27, 1990, at his home in Salt Lake City from natural causes.
He was born January 11, 1897, at Manti, Utah son of Andrew Clarence and Amanda Jensen Nelson. His father was a nationally known educator, having served for 13 years - to the time of his death, December 26, 1913 - as State Superintendent of Public Instruction for Utah. His mother, a pioneer immigrant from Norway, passed away October 22, 1945, at the age of 82.He received his early education at the Hamilton Elementary and Bryant Junior High schools in Salt Lake City, and his high school training at the West and East High Schools, where he was student-body president. On the occasion of East High's 75th anniversary, February 10, 1988, he was the recipient of the school's Distinguished Alumnus Award.
His college education was at the University of Utah, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. His interest in advertising and journalism was shown in high school and college, where he edited school newspapers and year books and did reporting and advertising work for Salt Lake City newspapers. He was sports and automobile editor of the Deseret News from 1917-21. He joined Gillham Advertising Agency in 1921 as a schedule clerk. He later became the company's production manager, then assistant manager, and then general manager. In 1930 he purchased control and became its president, which position he held until 1972, when he became chairman of the board. He resigned from the company June 4, 1975, at the age of 78.
Mr. Nelson has been active in Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce work for many years, a member of the organization since 1921. He served as president of the Salt Lake Advertising Club in 1931-32, when the local club received the annual award for the most outstanding accomplishment of any club in the eleven western states. This award was made at the convention of the Pacific Advertising Clubs Association at Vancouver, B.C. in July, 1932. He was vice-president of the Pacific Advertising Clubs Association in 1933.
Mr. Nelson was elected first vice-president of the Rotary Club of Salt Lake in June 1932, and a member of the board of governors of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce in June, 1936; was elected vice-president of the Chamber in June, 1937. He was elected president of the Chamber of Commerce in June 1938, president of the Rotary Club of Salt Lake in 1943, and president of the Bonneville Knife and Fork Club in 1947-48.
During his 54 years in the advertising business, Mr. Nelson participated in virtually every facet of advertising - planning, copywriting, production, media buying, marketing and public relations. Recognized for his organizational ability, he handled many of the area's most successful promotions and received many national awards.
During World War II he headed publicity committees for the American Red Cross, Salvage and War Bond campaigns. He was chairman of the Public Information Committee for the $10 million University of Utah Medical Center fund raising campaign in 1958; vice-chairman of the David O. McKay community testimonial observance on President McKay's 90th birthday in 1963; vice chairman of the state-wide observance honoring Gus P. Backman in 1964; vice president, Utah Symphony board, 1964-68; chairman of the brochure committee honoring President N. Eldon Tanner when he received the "Giant In Our City" award in 1977, and was chairman of a similar committee honoring President Spencer W. Kimball on his 85th birthday observance in 1980.
He was also a member of The Alta Club, and the Salt Lake Country Club. In September, 1961, he was elected a member of the Honorary Colonel Corps of the Utah National Guard. In March, 1966, he was a recipient of the annual Silver Medal Award presented by the Salt Lake Advertising Club, Advertising Association of the West, Advertising Federation of America, and Printers' Ink Magazine, for achievements in advertising and community service. He was listed in "Who's Who in the West" and "Who's Who in Commerce and Industry."
He was a member of the 12th Ward of the Salt Lake Monument Park Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a member of the High Priests quorum in that stake.
In 1919 he married Edna Anderson, then a guest soprano soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She was born in Ephraim, Utah daughter of Andrew C. and Sarah Williams Anderson. The marriage was later solemnized in the Provo LDS Temple. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson observed their 63rd wedding anniversary in 1982. She died July 19, 1983.
Mr. Nelson is survived by four children, all residing in Salt Lake City, Mrs. Robert F. (Marjory) Rohlfing, active in musical, church and social circles; Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and internationally-known heart surgeon; Mrs. William (Enid) DeBirk, former administrative-assistant to Wendell J. Ashton when he was publisher of the Deseret News; and Robert H. Nelson, local attorney-at-law. All are graduates of East High School and the University of Utah. Mr. Nelson is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 47 great-grandchildren; and one brother, Clyde E. Nelson, Salt Lake City. A grandson, Troy R. Nelson, preceded him in death.
Funeral services will be held at 12 Noon, Friday, November 30, 1990, at the Monument Park 12th Ward Chapel, 2795 East Crestview Drive (1000 South). Friends may call at Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, on Thursday evening from 6-8 p.m., and at the ward between 10:30-11:30 a.m., prior to service. Interment, Salt Lake City Cemetery.
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