Funeral Service of Wallis Baird Nelson, June 18, 1959, Conducted by Asel McBride
Sister Lila, Carol, Leonard, members of the family, friends, brothers and sisters, we have met here today to pay our earthly respects to one of our beloved brethren, one whom we all love very deeply; we will miss him very greatly. Brother Baird was killed in an automobile accident at 5:40 p.m. on Monday, June 15. He was born in Willard, Utah on April 20, 1913, the son of John Laird and Rachel Baird Nelson. He married Lila Gull March 28, 1940 in the Salt Lake Temple. He was active in the Grant 5th Ward, Secretary of Senior Aaronic Priesthood; Secretary of the Aaronic Priesthood; Priesthood Advisor, Scoutmaster, and at present serving as the Explorer Advisor of the Grant 5th Ward. Baird was an outstanding leader of men, boys, and he was indeed a builder of men.
He graduated from the Box Elder High School; he had two years at Weber College, and finished at the University of Utah, and graduated with a Degree of Engineering. He was employed presently by the Geological Survey. He is survived by Lila, his wife, Carol, his daughter, 17, and Leonard, his son, 14. Also two brothers, Roy, of Willard, and Robert, of Ogden, and his sister Carma Simper residing here in this ward.
The program which has been arranged is as follow:
Prelude and postlude by Sister Helen Torgerson
Invocation by Ralph A. Train
Duet "Oh, My Father" by Royal Bruce Terry and Donna Terry
Remarks by one of Baird's fellow workers Harry D. Goode
Remarks by a very close friend Bishop Hugh A. McKellar
Organ solo "Softly and Tenderly" Sister Torgerson
Remarks, Scoutmaster Grant 5th Ward Charles Merrill
Remarks Bishop Asel McBride
Solo "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" Kenneth Torgerson
Benediction Howard Hardy
Pallbearers (6 nephews)
Dedication of grave Horace Tame
The services will proceed as outlined.
Our Heavenly Father, we have assembled ourselves here this afternoon at the services for one of our beloved brethren, father and husband, Wallis Baird Nelson. Father in Heaven, we ask thy spirit to be with us during this service, that we may have thy spirit here in abundance; that the speakers will be guided, those who are to speak may be guided; that the thoughts and songs this day may be in our lives; that we may cherish and remember Brother Baird who has been such a faithful member of thy Church and such a wonderful friend to all. And Father in Heaven, we ask that thou will bless his wife, Lila, that she may be comforted this day; through the weeks and months that she may have an understanding, so great, of this Gospel and the plan of salvation, that it will be a comfort to her; and we bless the children, Carol and Leonard, that they may follow in the footpaths of their father who has taught them the fundamentals of the Gospel, who has gone out of his way to help others to set the example of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Wilt thou bless them, Father, as a family, that they may have thy comforting spirit with them, and that they may always have the love radiating in their hearts of their father and husband. And we ask Thee, Father, that each one of us here this day may remember thee and keep thy commandments; that we may remember these fine things that this young man has given to us, and those people that he is associated with; that we may be grateful for the opportunity that we have had of being close to Baird. We are grateful, Father, for all of the opportunities and blessings that we have and enjoy; and we are grateful that we understand thy gospel, that this is one of the steps in that progression, and we ask thy blessings, Father in Heaven, to be with us during this meeting and always; and these blessings we humble pray for, and we do it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. --Ralph A. Train
I am grateful that you have given me this opportunity to tell you how I feel about Baird Nelson. Baird came to work for the U.S. Geological Survey in July, 1944, as a hydraulic engineer. Among his many duties, he was charged with measuring water levels and artesian pressures in water wells and in installing and maintaining measuring equipment. We make pumping tests and collection records and make reports on water levels throughout the State of Utah.
Over the years, Baird accumulated a vast amount of knowledge about ground-water conditions in the State of Utah, perhaps more than anyone else in the office of Salt Lake City. Those of us who had less experience than Baird recognized that he was a vast fund of knowledge, and we often came to him with our problems.
I first became acquainted with Baird in July of 1957 when I was transferred to Salt Lake City. I had come from working in mineral deposits and I knew very little about work in ground water. Baird immediately offered to show me what he knew about the area in which I was to work, and we spent several days in the field together. Soon, another more pressing job came up and I had to spend most of that summer in the office, and I had very little contact with Baird.
Late in the month of August, I received word that my mother was desperately ill and that she was expected to die. I was in rather difficult straits and I had no cash to pay for transportation to the East Coast. I applied to a local bank for a loan. It was refused me because I had been in Salt Lake City only six weeks. When Baird heard of my predicament, he offered to lend me the money. At first, I refused to accept, because I felt that this was putting out short friendship to too big a test, but Baird insisted and I accepted a loan of $400 from him as soon as I became assured that I would be able to repay it within a very short time. With that money I was able to go the East Coast about a week earlier than I would have been able to do.
As time passed I learned that Baird's expression of friendship for me was but one demonstration of his great love for people. I came to feel that Baird was one of the warmest and kindest, and friendliest men that I have ever known, and I believe that all of Baird's fellow workers in the Geological Survey feel the same as I do. --Hank Goode
You will forgive me if I break down. I have known Baird since 1936 when he came down to attend the University of Utah. We were school mates together, and through the years I have kept in touch with Baird. Perhaps the only one of my class that I really know too much about and have contact with. Baird came down to school broke. He had no money to pay his expenses and didn't know how he was going to go to school. Typically as it was of Baird, he knew that he would be able to accomplish the results and the goal that he had set for himself. He graduated in two years, the same as me. He knew what he wanted, and he wasn't afraid to work for it. Baird knew hardship in his life. Things were not always rosy for him. But he was self-reliant andworked out his own problems. He worked at the Bureau of Reclamation, the CCC Camp, and at the Army Engineers, and each one of these organizations found that he was reliable and trustworthy, as we have been told here today. Baird was not afraid to work. I never heard him swear, and he was never one to complain. No matter what he was engaged in, he was always enthusiastic and did things willingly, knowing something was expected of him.
Baird had a strong testimony of the gospel. Again, I am sure others who worked with him could testify to this. He told me something of his work; his work in the Church has been in manycapacities, the Senior Aaronic should follow the influence he had. Baird is one man who really loved the Gospel; he always spoke up in defense of the principles of the gospel which he loved; heworked in the scout movement, and was so proud of his troop of 20 boys, who advanced to the rank of Eagle, more than all the rest of the stake combined. They were always willing to go the extra mile to do the things that he liked, this exemplified Baird Nelson. He so enjoyed his work with the Explorers, and he loved his boys and was faithful and dependable; whatever he was told to do, he did it willingly. He was happy in his work in the Church and always did more than he was asked to do.
Baird was proud of his family. I know that he has set an example for those of us who knew him. We will never forget him, and we will be better men and women for having known Baird Nelson. I say to his children: follow your dad's example; you will never find a better man to lead you. I am sure there is great rejoicing in heaven today because this choice spirit has been called home. I am sure that he is accepting this new assignment as cheerfully and happily as he has any other here on this earth. We will all miss him; he was a true friend.
I bear you my witness, brothers and sisters, if we follow Baird's example we will know and share other happy experiences and will shake his hand and see his kindly smile and the twinkle in his eye and continue eternally with the association he has to give and I bear you this as my testimony, Amen. --Hugh McKellar
Brothers and sisters, I feel this responsibility very keenly. Baird has lived in the Grant 5th Ward 16 years and I have been here only 2 years. From the first day Brother Baird Nelson came to our apartment to get acquainted and to see if there was anything he could do to get established. Ever since then, I have been continually in touch with Baird. I have been scouting a good many years with him.
Baird was a boys' man. The boys loved him, and still love him and will carry his memory with them all their lives. Shortly after I moved in, it was beet-thinning time. As I worked with the young fellows thinning beets, they kept saying what a wonderful man Baird was and they called him a "regular first-class guy" and I have a little poem which fits Baird Nelson, as much as anyone I have ever known, and if you will permit me I should like to read it:
A Reg'lar First-Class Guy
When you meet a fine young fellow,
Just a robust, careless boy,
And he greets you with a "Hello!"
That just thrills your heart with joy,
If to him your friendship's priceless--
Something money cannot buy,
Then you're what he's pleased to label:
"That's a reg'lar first-class guy!"
It has caused me some reflection,
And I've often wondered why
This acme of deep affection:
"That's a reg'lar first-class guy."
Guys fulfill a useful mission;
Guys support, and guys sustain;
Keep erect, maintain position--
Take up slack, and take off strain.
That's the kind of guys we should be;
Guys that steady and sustain;
Guys that serve, support and strengthen--
Ease the slack, and take the strain.
You have gained the highest title,
When the boys you're passing by
Turn and say to one another:
"There's a reg'lar first-class guy!"
Be a guy to some fine fellow;
Show him how to play the game;
Buck him up and keep him level--
Brace him when he's under strain.
Be to him a real companion--
Not too good, and not too wise--
Just a Pal, and then "YOU'RE LISTED
With his "First Class Reg'lar Guys."
This is a graduation; it really, truly is. We have attended a lot of school graduations lately. This is certainly graduation for Brother Baird Nelson. He has graduated from earth to prove himself. I feel keenly that Brother Baird Nelson has proved himself, in the eyes of the Lord, a righteous man. He tried to help everyone. Carol, Leonard and Sister Nelson, Brother Nelson has gone to prepare a place for you, and is taking his assignment cheerfully. Leonard, this has caused you to become a man, really sooner than you had expected. How you are a man, you are the priesthood in your home. The Lord will look to you to direct those things which need to be directed in your home in His name. This is a great responsibility, but Baird has taught his family. I love Leonard, he is a leader of boys, just as his father was a leader of men. I am sure Leonard will take that responsibility, and Sister Nelson will help him in his responsibility. I am sure Carol and his mother will honor him and help him to do that which must be done. Many of us at this time of life, when we think of the life of one who has gone to the next world, feel very keenly we will be there and take a look at him. We get in the habit of sliding and forgetting we must keep the standard taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I pray we will keep those vows and not let those things which Baird has done for us in this world leave our thoughts and minds. I hope we will keep them tenderly in our minds.
I have one other little thing, a little poem I call "Average."
My Friend, Baird, never judged a man by one
Bad thing he done, nor by one goodly thing--
Like one of the scouts, the time he stopped up the spring;
Or another time, whom a boy saved another from drowning.
"Tain't average" Baird would say, "for neither lad.
You got to average up the good and the bad."
He never was a hasty man. My friend Baird,
Slow in his speech and slow to spit and smile.
He'd give his plain opinion, after a while,
On whether you was a Saint or a scamp.
("Can't tell." he'd say. "Ain't knowed you very long,
Can't always tell a mockingbird by his song.")
He'd not look up to any man, nor down,
Baird wouldn't just a level eye-to-eye.
Let others shoot or whisper, laugh or sigh.
He'd sort or shrub and then he'd sort of frown,
And say, "Don't know. Ain't studied about it yet
To see what kind of average I could get."
Well, now he's dead, my fried, Baird, and I'm afraid
There's some that called him stubborn, caution, slow;
Though others called him wise. But this I know:
Whatever of Baird, Saint Peter has heard.
He'll take it all--Like Baird used to do--
And average up, and shrug, and let him through.
May the Lord bless us as we remember this man and keep him choice in our hears, and I will promise you, Lila, Carol and Leonard, I will do whatever I can to make life be what Baird would have it be for you, until we meet again. This I do in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. --Charles Merrill
There has been much said here today about Baird. And there's much more that could be said and should be said. How his heart went out to his fellow man; how he lived for his family, his friends, his Church, his God. I don't believe I ever knew another man with the enthusiasm that Baird had for what God had given him or asked of him to do. Not another man could see as he could what his friends needed. I know I am going to miss him very much. Whenever I asked Baird to do a job, he said "Bishop, I'll do it," and I could forget it-I knew it would be done. I never knew a busier man in this community, one with more things to do, and yet spent more time with his fellow man. He was anxious to get his home done, pushing to get through. A call came for the Stake Farm. Baird dropped it and went to work on the Stake Farm. He spent more hours on the Stake Farm than any other man. More hours except for Brother Cope, our work director. The hours he spent with the boys back at Christmas time. Every vacant spot on his street was filled with Christmas trees. Sure had had a lot of help, but I'll bet all the help put together didn't average more and all the help Baird gave with the Christmas trees. Now many of us would put everything aside to go out and do that for a group of boys, or a neighbor, or a friend, whatever it might be!
Just one thing, coming back, the beatitudes. I don't believe there is one that doesn't apply to Baird Nelson. "Blessed are ye that seek after righteousness." Baird continuously sought after righteousness. He was worrying more about the men in the Senior Aaronic Priesthood than the boys. He said "I've just got to spend more time with those men." He knew that the only way they could have the happiness he was receiving in this life was for them to become active in the Church, side by side with him.
When we needed a scoutmaster, I had to pull him back in to work with the boys. Where did we find him on Sunday morning? We found him from time to time visiting with these men, trying to keep up their spirits, and at the same time, spending twice as much time with these young boys. These boys, I can say to them right now, they will miss this man more than anything else they can imagine. They will find an empty spot. There is to be a boat trip on the Colorado River right away. Who is going to take his place with these boys? Who will fill these shoes? Baird was builder of men. I don't know how we are going to replace him.
I know that Sister Lila Nelson and her two children have been blessed greatly with such a man as a husband and father. They should be thankful to have had him as much as they have. He must indeed have important work to do on the other side and been needed awfully bad and I am sure he is sorry to leave his loved ones, these boys, and men he loved. I am sure his heart is aching for them, and that he is praying these boys will get hold of themselves and do these things that will lead to their happiness with Baird. There is the group that not yet have made the Eagle rank. They need to make it by September. Who is going to get in and help these boys? Who will accept that responsibility? You young men had better vow within yourselves you will not let him down. You have got to be Eagles, every one of you. Get in and work for it, put some of the enthusiasm that Baird has given you into your work. Make him proud of you. Let us pattern our lives after him--his zest for living. He knew you to get fun and joy out of life. The greatest joy you could ever have is serving your fellow men. Baird had that; he knew that. We are all better off for having known him and having been with him.
He was always interested in everybody. Out here in the hall he talked. He had his eye on everybody and watching everybody he could possible help. He would say, "I've get to go see him and get him to come." I know there was a desire in his heart to help everyone; I never knew another like him. I am sure, brothers and sisters, that we will hot have another like him, and I am sure that our Heavenly Father will watch over his family and take care of them--they will have the necessities of life. Leonard and Carol will accept the responsibilities with their mother. They have a real job ahead of them, because Baird set an example that is hard to live by, but I know they will do it. And they will be the leaders that Baird has been. God will give them the ability to serve, just as he was served. Sure he will be missed--we will all miss him tremendously, but we have a job to do. Baird didn't fell that he was finished with these young men and boys--let's get in and finish his job for him. Eight or ten boys have got to be Eagle Scouts by fall. Let's get in and take over; let's make him proud of us!
May the Lord ease the burden and pain that is with the Nelson family at this time. I am sure they will know that Baird was attained his place in the celestial kingdom; and they will gain the exaltation of their Father; that we may take an example for Brother Nelson and live as he would like to see us live; that we may gain a place beside him in the eternal kingdom.
I would like to express thanks, on behalf of the family, for flowers, calls, visits, for food prepared by neighbors and the Relief Society; to those who here sung and spoken, and to those who have helped in any way.
I caution you to drive carefully to the cemetery, that no harm or accident may befall anyone.
May the Lord bless us, each and every one, Amen. --Bishop McBride
At the close of this service, Heavenly Father, we wish to thank thee for this wonderful man. We thank thee for the lovely years that we have associated with Brother Baird Nelson. We thank thee for the testimony of the gospel that he had and that he bore to us every day whenever he met anyone. We thank thee for the many wonderful things that he was done for people on this earth and for the opportunity that we have had of associating with him. We thank thee for the wonderful music we have heard this day, favorite songs of Brother Baird's, those that he sang and believed. In a special manner, Heavenly Father, bless Lila, and Carol and Leonard, that they may be joyful over the many wonderful years they have had with their husband and father; and that they will know that this period of life is relatively short in God's kingdom of things, and if they will remember this it will be easier for them while they wait the time when they will join him in eternity, and he will be ready there waiting to welcome them. And I know the testimony that he has left, that the way will be easy for them and that they will live for him as he would have it. May each one of us do this, Heavenly Father. We are really appreciative of the many wonderful men in this ward and people whom Baird has reactivated in the Church, and the testimony of the Gospel, too, and his life has been rich, and he has lived many more years then it would seem from all that has been accomplished. We know we are weak on this earth, Heavenly Father, but we know that were it not for great wisdom would things happen as they should, especially when we are faithful in keeping the covenants of the Gospel we have embraced.
May the funeral proceed to the cemetery, and may no accident befall anyone; and we pray that the sweet spirit of this service will always be with us that we may remember the teachings that Baird has left with us. These favors and blessings we ask, and all others we stand in need of Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. --Howard Hardy
In humility, our Heavenly Father, we came to thee at this, the last resting place of one of thy servants, Baird, and we ask, Heavenly Father, that while we are gathered here, that thou wilt let a rich portion of thy spirit abide here; bless the memory of Baird, and may we ever remember his love for his fellow men, and may we strive to pattern after him and do as he would have wanted us to do. Wilt Thou bless his dear family, Lila and Carol and Leonard, and give them strength to go on living the gospel as their father has taught them to do; wilt thou comfort them and may they come to this spot from time to time in peace, and in reverence, and Father, we ask thee to hallow this plot of ground, and wilt thou watch over it at all times and we ask thee to protect the casket, and the clothes, that nothing may happen to mar them. And may this day ever remind the Nelson family of those words of the Master, "In my Father's House are many mansions, were it not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you." May these words bring solace to Baird's family, that they may so live that when the day comes for them to join their husband and father, that they may be with him in the celestial kingdom of God. And we ask all these blessings and do these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen. --Horace Tame