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David Robert Nemelka

  • Daily Herald
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David Robert Nemelka

1938 ~ 2011

David Robert Nemelka, our devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend passed away on February 8, 2011, at the age of 71. Our father was a friend to everyone. He naturally uplifted and brought joy into people's lives, whether it was by passing out happiness gum or paying for a stranger's groceries. He loved giving bear hugs and enjoyed being called Papa Bear and Opa by his family and friends.

Opa was born on March 30, 1938, in Salt Lake City, Utah to Nephi Alma Nemelka and Ruth Hubold. He and his four siblings were raised in humble circumstances and they forged bonds as children that sustained them throughout their entire lives. After graduating from West High School in 1957, he earned a degree in social work from the University of Utah and served as an intelligence officer with the 142nd MI Linguist Company of the U.S. Army Reserve. He served a mission for the LDS Church in West Germany and it was there that he met his "double, double sweetheart," our mother Ingrid. You cannot know Opa without knowing Omi, his best friend and the love of his life whom he married in the Logan Utah Temple on November 21, 1962. They were true to their life's motto of "Family First and Nothing Second," and our dad considered his children his greatest legacy. He often said that the purpose of life was to create positive memories with your loved ones, and for his 28 grandchildren, these memories include legendary Kids' Day adventures, Easter egg hunts for cash, golf cart rides with his dog Cutie Pie, and horseback riding in the backyard.

Our father dedicated his life to helping those in need. He had a special love and talent for working with troubled youth and was program director of boys' homes in California and Utah. Blessed with wisdom and a gift for counseling, he aided many people in their most difficult times. Opa was passionate about the cause of organ donation and dedicated the latter years of his life to eliminating the organ shortage. He was a member of the Utah State Legislature for two terms, from 1973-1976, where he received the Don Quixote Award for fighting the battles of the less fortunate. As a lifelong and faithful member of the LDS Church, he had many callings but his favorites were Scoutmaster and Home Teacher.

Opa delighted in many things. He raised Appaloosa race horses and was inducted into the Appaloosa Horse Club Hall of Fame. Observing his backyard hummingbirds and having them land on his hands brought him great joy. He loved playing games, especially Chinese Checkers with his wife and The Settlers of Catan with anybody he could convince to sit down at the table. Opa always considered it a privilege that he was able to raise his family in Mapleton, and Maple Mountain remained a source of peace and inspiration throughout his life.

He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Ingrid; his children: David (Arianne) Nemelka of Springville, Utah; John (Heather) Nemelka of Provo, Utah; Heidi (Joe) Udall of Mesa, Arizona; Joseph (Christy) Nemelka of Mapleton, Utah; Sonja (Mitch) Wasden of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Allyson (William) Davidson of Ningbo, China; and Michael (Melanie) Nemelka of Washington, D.C. He is also survived by 27 grandchildren and his siblings, Rose (Rick) Blackhum; Jeannene (Ed) Barham; Carol Kimball; and Roger (Linda) Nemelka. He was preceded in death by his parents and his "German Princess" granddaughter Anna Loeen Nemelka.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, February 15th at 11:00 a.m. at the Mapleton Stake Center, 970 North 400 East, Mapleton, Utah 84464. Family and friends may also pay their respects from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the funeral services and on Monday, February 14th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Wheeler Mortuary, 82 West 400 North, Mapleton. Interment will be at Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, Utah.

Condolences may be sent at


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Death Notices

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