LaVerne was born in Eastport, Idaho on December 13, 1933, to Mary (Deane) and William Roberts. She passed away in Puyallup, Washington on December 12, one day before her 89th birthday.
LaVerne spent her childhood in Idaho, Alaska, and Washington. She graduated as salutatorian of her high school class in Monroe, Washington, and went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college when she received her diploma from Central Washington State College (now CWU) in 1956.
LaVerne was married to Rodney Nelson in 1956, and they settled in Cloquet, Minnesota, where their four sons were born. In 1962 they moved to Tacoma, where their daughter was born, and in 1966 to Eatonville, Washington where they raised their family.
Devoted to her family and community, she was involved in countless school and community activities. An active member of Graham Covenant Community Church, she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for many years. She was the first teacher at Rocky Ridge Cooperative Preschool, a founding member of the Eatonville Music Boosters organization, a volunteer on the Lacamas Community and Pierce County Fair boards, chair of the Eatonville Daffodil Princess selection committee, and worked as a tour guide at the State Capitol building in Olympia.
Her strong leadership abilities led to elected positions on the National FFA Alumni Council and the Eatonville School Board. She was also a gifted calligrapher, and her artistry graced many diplomas, certificates, and proclamations.
Following Rodney’s retirement, they spent summers at the family lake cabin in Minnesota. LaVerne loved to spend time with her grandchildren, and she and Rodney took one grandchild each year to Minnesota with them until they had all had a turn - trips that remain treasured memories for each grandchild. She loved to go places and traveled extensively in the US and Canada, including a long-anticipated trip to Alaska to visit her brother, and at age seventy she traveled to Thailand to visit her son and his family.
LaVerne’s greatest joy was her family. A woman of faith, LaVerne strove to bring her children and grandchildren to a personal knowledge of their savior, Jesus Christ. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Rodney Nelson, and her five children; Kirby (Joy) Nelson of Eatonville, Craig (Sheryl) Nelson of Puyallup, Curtis (Marci) Nelson of Roy, Chris (Tracy) Nelson of Graham, and Jodi (Milt) Turco of Puyallup. She is also survived by ten grandchildren (Linnea, Jacob, Hannah, Luke, Blake, Mariah, Sam, Liliana, Andrew, and Matthew) and three great-grandchildren (Waylon, Dorothy, and Clara). LaVerne was preceded in death by her three brothers; Ron Roberts, Bill Roberts, and Bob Roberts.
A memorial service will take place on January 2, 2023, at The Ridge Bible Church, 10609 234th St. E. in Graham, at 1:30 pm.