MARLESE A. NELSON TEASLEY Marlese left us on May 4, 2013, after a long and courageous struggle with illness. She passed at her home at Wynwood Assisted Living Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, with her two daughters at her side. Marlese was born on January 14, 1930, in Buhl, Idaho, to Marjorie Claire (Toole) Nelson and Leslie Garth Nelson. Marlese was born into a musical family. Her father Leslie played the drums and saxophone and ran his own band that included her brother Jack on the clarinet and tenor saxophone. Her great-grandmother, Cassia Banker Dickey, was an accomplished pianist who traveled throughout the Northwest playing background...
MARLESE A. NELSON TEASLEY
Marlese left us on May 4, 2013, after a long and courageous struggle with illness. She passed at her home at Wynwood Assisted Living Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, with her two daughters at her side. Marlese was born on January 14, 1930, in Buhl, Idaho, to Marjorie Claire (Toole) Nelson and Leslie Garth Nelson. Marlese was born into a musical family. Her father Leslie played the drums and saxophone and ran his own band that included her brother Jack on the clarinet and tenor saxophone. Her great-grandmother, Cassia Banker Dickey, was an accomplished pianist who traveled throughout the Northwest playing background music for silent movies. Marlese's great aunts were traveling vaudeville performers, singing and playing musical instruments in the Mohawk Valley of New York state. Marlese's brother Jack and his wife Margaret "Marge" Nelson have performed with several bands in Sun City West, with Margaret still singing and running her own jazz band. Marlese and her brother and sister-in-law have shared a special love of jazz music since they were young adults.
Marlese began her musical career at the age of six as a singer, performing Shirley Temple songs at the Duchin Room in Sun Valley and on several Idaho radio stations. She began studying piano around the same age and was fortunate enough to study classical piano with several accomplished pianists. When Marlese was in junior high, her family moved to Seattle, so that her father and brother could work in the shipyards during World War II. While in Seattle, she studied classical piano with a virtuoso piano teacher, who introduced her to the piano music of composer Claude Debussy, whose compositions she performed throughout her life. At the age of 13, while in Seattle, Marlese won a city-wide piano competition that afforded her the opportunity to play a piano concerto with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra.
After the War ended, the Nelson family returned to Buhl, where Marlese continued to study piano, this time with Teala Bellini, a former concert pianist who lived in Twin Falls. At Buhl High School, Marlese was a cheerleader and developed many friendships which lasted a lifetime. She attended class reunions throughout her life and was looking forward to her 65th high school reunion in her final weeks.
Although classically trained, Marlese was introduced to jazz while playing with the Nelson family band, and began playing jazz gigs at the age of 16. At the age of 17, she met Renno L. "Bud" Teasley, a gifted young trumpet player who had just returned from the War and was a friend of her brother Jack's. Marlese always said she fell in love with Renno at first sight, when they met while playing a gig. This began a life-long love of each other and joint musical pursuits. Marlese and Renno played music in the Magic Valley area for decades, which included running their own band, playing with the Arlon Bastian Trio, and later with the CSI Stage Band. They also occasionally played in Sun Valley and Jackpot, Nevada, and with the Dilletante little theater group in Twin Falls. Their love of music provided Marlese and Renno with a special bond through the years. They developed lasting friendships with their fellow band members and band directors. After Renno's passing in 2000, Marlese went on to play with the CSI Stage Band, including gigs in New York City and at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland.
Marlese began her college education around age 30, and she went on to achieve a Master's Degree in Education and an Education Specialist degree from Idaho State University. She was employed by the Twin Falls School District for many years as a counselor and school psychologist. She was also employed by several other Magic Valley school districts, including Kimberly, Hansen, and Murtaugh, as a first grade teacher and later as a school psychologist. She was interested in Adlerian psychology and belonged to the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology. Through her entire life, Marlese's music continued. She taught piano lessons to scores of Magic Valley music students, including many adults. Her piano students included her daughters and grandchildren. She also played a key role in founding and advising a student jazz band at O'Leary Junior High. The O'Leary Junior High Jazz Band performed at the Gene Harris Jazz Festival in Boise on several occasions.
Marlese moved to Wynwood of Twin Falls in April of 2010. While living there, Marlese often delighted residents with her piano playing.
Marlese belonged to the First Presbyterian Church in Twin Falls, sang in the choir, and enjoyed its Bible study group. She belonged to the women's sorority Beta Sigma Phi, where she made many friends and enjoyed many events and projects. She was also a dedicated supporter of the Snake River Alliance. She had a special love of nature and was an avid environmentalist. She sustained generations of birds and squirrels that visited her yard.
Marlese was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Renno, her sister-in-law Marian Graybeal, and her beloved aunt and uncle, Leonard and Thelma Howard. She is survived by her two daughters, A. Rene' Martin of Boise and her children, Alyson Brown of Monterey, California and Brandon Fitzpatrick of Boise, and great grandson Tyler Jaglowski of Salt Lake City, Utah; and Regi Teasley and her partner Judy Saul, of Ithaca, New York, and their daughter Alice Saul Saunders (Justin) of New York City and Monterey, California. Marlese is also survived by her brother Jack Nelson and his wife Margaret Nelson, of Sun City West, Arizona, by cousins Donald Howard [Joan] of Salem, Oregon, and Bob Howard of Meridian, Idaho, and brother-in-law Vic Graybeal, his son, Mark Graybeal and his family. Marlese's family and many friends were a treasured part of her life.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Wynwood of Twin Falls, Horizon Home Health and Hospice, and A Caring Hand caregivers. These compassionate health care workers supported and brightened Marlese's life during its final chapter.
Those who wish can remember Marlese through a donation to the R.L. "Bud" Teasley Memorial Jazz Scholarship through the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls or the Twin Falls Public Library.
A celebration of Marlese's life and music will be held at the Rick Allen room in the Herrett Center on the CSI campus in Twin Falls on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Arrangements are under the direction of Trent Stimpson and staff at Reynolds Funeral Chapel, Twin Falls. Condolences may be left for the family by visiting www.reynoldschapel.com.