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Rodney Ray Nelson

09/07/1950 - 09/28/2023
Service Date: 10/07/2023
Service Time: 11:00 AM
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2265 S Hawes Rd, Mesa AZ 85209
Visitation Date: 10/07/2023
Visitation Time: 10:00 AM
Visitation Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2265 S Hawes Rd, Mesa AZ 85209
Interment: Gilbert Memorial Park

Rodney “Rod” Ray Nelson, age 73, of Yuma, AZ, passed away on Thursday, September 28, 2023. Rod is survived by his wife of 48 years, Marsha Lee Nelson, who was the love of his life. He is also survived by his children, Taylor R. Nelson (Sheri), Amilia M. Whetten (Denver), Ashlee A. Nicoll (Brian), Tanner B. Nelson (Laura), Amanda K. Tolutau (Tevia), one sister, Judy Butler (Kim), and 18 grandchildren.

Rod grew up in Tucson, AZ and graduated from Palo Verde High School. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Alaska/British Columbia. Upon returning from his mission, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed for a time at Camp Casey, Korea working as a Legal Clerk/Court Reporter.

After his enlistment, he earned his Bachelor Degrees (Political Science and Social Work),a Masters Degree (Marriage and Family Therapy), and a PhD (Clinical Psychology).

Rod worked professionally as a marriage and family therapist and helped countless clients, friends, family members, and colleagues. He especially enjoyed counseling servicemen and women.

For 28 years, a highlight of his career was teaching Early Childhood Development and Psychology at Arizona Western College.

Rod’s life was a life devoted to service, especially his years serving in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His service included Scout Leader, Young Men’s President, High Councilor, Bishop, and 17 years in the Stake Presidency of the Yuma, Arizona Stake.


Funeral Services will be held Saturday, October 7th at 11:00 am, preceded by a viewing at 10:00am at the LDS Church Building 2265 S Hawes Rd, Mesa AZ 85209.

Rod will be put to rest at Gilbert Memorial Park.


Arrangements by Bunker’s University Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.




  • Wayne and Priscilla Devey and family

    Sending prayers and love to Rod Nelson’s family.
    He was great example and influence for good to our family.

  • He will be missed love to you all

  • I always remember Rod pulling up in the church parking lot a half hour early and getting out and lifting his walker out of the back of the truck . He got to church half hour early and sat way in the back . he always had a big smile on his face as he waited for his sweetheart, Marsha to get to church a few mins later . He enjoyed talking and visiting with friends before church started . He was in charge of getting the rolls of the church in order and he knew the importance of order . Such a kind , wise cheerful soul ,who will be missed by us all .❤️❤️

  • President Nelson or Rod as I came to know him was dedicated to serving the youth and was such a support to me when I served in the Stake YW. I could count on him to always be present at stake youth activities and support me as needed. He was a great example of steady service. My prayers go out to Marsha and their children. God be with you. Beth

  • Janine Christensen

    When I think of Rod, I think of his big smile and friendly ways. He definitely was there to help our family with counseling and encouragement when we needed it. Thank you Rod. Prayers for your family at this time.

  • Rod was a huge influence in our early years and helped us deal with difficult toddlers. We wish his family the comfort promised by the Savior to those that mourn.

  • To the Nelson family and friends: May the good and wonderful memories live on. May any faults be excused. May happiness and joy soon fill your hearts!

  • Joe & Liz Colton

    Rod was amazing man. We are grateful for his example and his wisdom and advice he shared with us. One of our favorite memories is when he taught everyone in the Yuma stake a few dances, like The Virginia Reel, at one of the family stake dances. His life touched so many. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

  • He will be missed.

  • John and Ronette Titensor & Family

    Rod was a champion for all the youth and all that were lucky enough to know him. We will never forget him introducing our children to Vernors and Stella. Our prayers are with your family.

  • Monte & Patti Talbot

    We offer our love and condolences at this time of loss. You and your family are in our prayers.

  • Deanne Jefferies

    Rod was a great man and helped my family in many ways! Marsha my heart goes out to you and your family as I know how hard this will be. God bless you!

  • Christopher Tolman

    I remember some things he taught when I was a youth that impacted me to change and be better. He also helped us as our real estate agent when we bought our first home. I will always be grateful for his ministry.

  • Matthew Pearson

    Bro. Rod Nelson was such a stalwart man and a example of dedication to his family and church family.

  • Rod was an amazing man. He was the best institute instructor, enjoyed his classes and counsel very much. My love and my condolences go out to Marsha and family. He was a good man.

  • Morgan Liberatore (Oyler) and family

    My condolences to the Nelson family on their temporary loss of a great man. Soon enough to be reunited in heaven <3

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