La Von Beth Wenger (1928-2017)

Mrs. La Von Beth Wenger (née Neilson) died peacefully in the New Haven Assisted Living Center on August 29, 2017, in Kyle, Texas at the age of 89 years old.

Beth is survived by her children, David Lynn Wenger of Buda, Texas, Leslie Ann Goodfellow of Plano, Texas, and Steven John Wenger of Statesville, North Carolina. She has two living siblings, Jerald R. (JR) Neilson, and Mike Karen Neilson Atwell. She is preceded in death by her husband, Lester Melvin Wenger, and siblings Verl Gene Neilson, La Var Garth Neilson, and Moa Carol Neilson. She will be dearly missed, but her family is at peace knowing she is united again in joy with her husband and loved ones in God’s kingdom.

Beth was born on February 18, 1928 to Ruie Verl Neilson and Vera Penrod at the home of her grandparents, Elmer and Mary Penrod in Declo, Idaho and her birth was registered in Rupert, Idaho, where her family lived on a small farm.

Beth’s childhood was fraught with challenges of the times, including Whooping cough which claimed the life of her five year old brother and Rheumatic fever which left her weakened for many years. During World War II, Beth’s parents moved across the country to various cities as her father worked in construction jobs, including the Parker Dam. Due to wartime blackouts she spend her evenings studying with a kerosene lamp.

The high school in Parker, Arizona had a home economics class that taught cooking and provided meals for local banquets and conferences. She remembered, “The work was free, the tips small, but the experience was great.” Beth was known as an accomplished cook the rest of her life. It was in Parker she also learned to sew from a Native American classmate and sewing was a skill she perfected over the years.

Beth eventually moved back to Rupert to live with her beloved grandmother Violet “Moner” Neilson. She graduated in 1945 from Rupert High School, where she was a member of the high school newspaper staff.

Beth worked as a telephone operator during high school and after graduation she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where she worked on the secretarial staff for International Harvester Company. There, she caught the eye of a co-worker, Lester Melvin Wenger, and they were married on January 13, 1951. They were married for over 61 years, and together have twelve grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Beth found comfort in the gospel of Jesus Christ and did her best to be a blessing to others. Both Lester and Beth were active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they contributed to the church through their service and devotion. Beth was known for her cooking and sewing skills, and she frequently prepared meals for church events and to assist needy members. She spent hours sewing dolls, stuffed animals, and dish towels, painting crafts, and baking goodies for sale in fund-raising bazaars. She also was the church newsletter editor and enjoyed adding poems, cartoons, and other fun additions to the publication. She was also a long-time Sunday School teacher and she especially enjoyed teaching young adults.

Lester’s work as an office manager at International Harvester took the family across the country, from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Des Moines, Iowa, and finally, Memphis, Tennessee.

Their home was a place of love, safety, comfort, and beauty. Both Beth and Lester worked hard to provide for the wellbeing of their children. School activities were supported, music lessons provided, fun vacations were taken, and all were encouraged to pursue higher education. Beth was both a Cub Scout and a Camp Fire Girl leader for her children, and she was always there to help with school and church activities.

In later years, they loved to provide care for the grandchildren, and enjoyed travel to places such as Hawaii and Europe. Family holiday gatherings were common. Beth’s cooking was acclaimed among family members and friends, and she enjoyed making everyone’s favorite desserts and dishes. Christmas in particular was an amazing display of her culinary talents.

Beth moved to Buda, Texas in 2012 after the death of her husband to live with her son David and her daughter-in-law Catherine Wenger. Catherine, in particular, devoted many selfless hours in Beth’s service, as Beth’s health deteriorated. Beth was moved to the New Haven Center three years later when her condition worsened.

A funeral is scheduled for Friday, September 1, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at Harrell Funeral Home, 2770 & Kohlers Crossing at 1715 Kirby, Kyle, Texas 78640. Bishop Kevin Hodges of the Kyle Texas Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day will officiate the ceremony and family members will provide thoughts. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Beth’s life. She will be interred next to her husband in the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. Condolences can be sent to We encourage you to support your church or favorite charity in lieu of donations. The family would like to thank Interim Hospice, the staff of New Haven, Holly Oswald, and many friends for their dedicated service to Beth in the final years of her life.

Please visit to share a fond memory, photograph, or condolence with Beth’s family on her On-line memorial site.

Funeral assistance provided by Harrell Funeral Home 1715 Kirby Lane, Kyle, TX 78640 (512) 268-8200

Funeral and cremation assistance provided by Harrell Funeral Home 1715 Kirby Lane, Kyle, TX 78640 (512) 268-8200

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