We are saddened to announce the passing of Erlene Annette (Nelson) Koval on May 22, 2023, at the age of 89.
She was born on May 16, 1934, in Brigham City, Utah, the only child of Earl and Melba (Christensen) Nelson. Due to her cheerful and outgoing disposition, she was nicknamed “Sunshine” as a child and made friends quickly, wherever she lived. After losing her father at age 3 and her mother at age 10, Erlene was adopted by her uncle and aunt, Tuff and Phyllis Nelson, who brought her to Pocatello at age 12. Pocatello became her longtime home and she graduated from Pocatello High School in 1952.
While attending Idaho State College, she met another only child, a tall, quiet basketball/track athlete from Indiana named Charles (Chuck) Koval. They dated, fell in love and then married on August 12, 1955, spending the following two years in California, Texas and Germany, courtesy of the U.S. Army. Upon Chuck’s discharge and two years in Indiana, she and Chuck moved back to Pocatello in 1959 and never left.
After her children were settled in school, she finished her teaching degree at Idaho State in 1971 and taught at Lewis and Clark Elementary School for 23 years, retiring in 1995. In that same year, she and Chuck found the home of their dreams in the Highland area, located across from the lot on which the Pocatello Temple would eventually be built. She loved her view of the Temple.
In her later years, Erlene enjoyed serving with Chuck as chaperones for student excursions to Europe. She was also a prolific reader and liked knitting and puzzles (and CNN). She and Chuck were devoted ISU Bengal Football and basketball fans and she continued to hold season tickets after his passing, rarely missing a home game.
Erlene was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints throughout her life and had an unfailing testimony of the Gospel, a legacy that she passed on to her children and later generations of her family. After Chuck’s passing in 2013, Erlene was able to join family members in completing temple ordinances that tied our family together for time and eternity.
Over recent years, Erlene received loving care from family, and from nearby neighbors and friends who made sure her driveway was shoveled, her lawn was mowed, and her kitchen was supplied with fresh baked goodies. Those friendships made widowhood much less burdensome, and we express our appreciation as a family to the many people who lovingly devoted time and energy to ensure she was well.
Erlene is survived by her son Rick (Connie) Koval, daughter Geri (Roger) Hernandez and daughter-in-law LeeAnn Koval, along with 12 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
She was predeceased by her parents, her husband and her son Jeff.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, June 10, 2023 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2925 Michelle Street Pocatello. A viewing will be held on Friday, June 9, 2023 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Manning Wheatley Funeral Home, 510 N. 12th Ave, Pocatello and Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:45 am at the church. Interment will be at Mountain View Cemetery, Pocatello, ID.
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