Dantzel White Nelson

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Dantzel White Nelson was the first wife of Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She died on February 12, 2005, with her husband by her side.

Dantzel White was born on February 17, 1926, on her family’s farm in Perry, Utah. According to the Deseret News, “her life-long love of music was inspired by a sister's childhood illness. As a preschooler, she participated in singing lessons orchestrated by her bedridden sister. After the older sister's lengthy convalescence and return to Box Elder High School, she invited Dantzel to perform at numerous school assemblies. Later, Sister Nelson's many musical connections at the University of Utah provided a setting for her courtship with Russell M. Nelson. They met as cast members in the musical, ‘Hayfoot, Strawfoot.’” He later proposed to her in the “family pea patch” and they married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 31, 1945.[1]

While President Nelson attended years of college, Dantzel taught school and found other ways to economize and live on a tight budget. She was the mother to nine daughters and one son. In addition to rearing a large family, she participated in the educational activities of her children and served in the PTA.

She was a member of the Tabernacle Choir for twenty years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a secondary certification.