Dennis C. Nielsen, 76, St. Cloud
July 26, 1939 - December 31, 2015
Dennis C. Nielsen, age 76, St. Cloud, died December 31 at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center. Visitation will be Friday, January 8, 2016 from 4pm to 8pm at Miller Carlin Funeral Home in St. Cloud and 1 hour prior to the service at the church in Clearwater Saturday morning. Funeral Services will be at 11am on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at Rejoice Lutheran Church, Clearwater, MN with Pastor Laurie Weis officiating. Private family burial will be at a later date in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls. Arrangements are being made by the Miller-Carlin Funeral Homes.
Dennis (Denny) Carl Nielsen was born July 26, 1939 to Henriette and Leslie Nielsen in Armstrong, Iowa. Denny graduated from high school in Buffalo Lake, MN and joined the United States Air Force from 1959-1965 with the 551st Strategic Missile Squadron. On January 15, 1966 he was united in marriage to Ramona Jeanne Nelson at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Fairfax, MN. Together they had three daughters Tracy, Cherise, and Dawn. While in the Air Force, Denny started his teaching degree. He finished his degree at St. Cloud State University, earning both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Physical Science. Denny taught 7th & 8th grade Science at North Junior High from 1967-1984 and Physics, Environmental Science, and Water Science at Apollo High School from 1984 until his retirement. He enjoyed teaching very much and, for years would take his students, along with other faculty, to Sand Dunes Wildlife Refuge and also his own property to have the students enjoy the wildlife and learn about environmental conservation. Besides his teaching job, Denny had a summer concrete business, “Nielsen & Sons” which poured slabs at Airstream and several of the Travelers Country Clubs. He also worked as the park manager at the Airstream Park in Clear Lake.
Denny was a master craftsman woodworker and many of his family and friends enjoyed gifts and furniture from his shop. He also enjoyed fishing and taking his family camping trips in the summer to any state park. He was especially fond of visiting Grand Marais to have Sven and Ole pizza. One of his greatest joys was taking his grandsons on tractor rides on his International Harvester Model “A” tractor. His other joy was being with his beloved Newfoundlands King and Thumper; whom his daughters believed he loved more than them.
Denny belonged to several organizations throughout his life. While teaching, he was a member of MEA, NEA, and the Central MN Science Teachers Association. He also was an active member in the Clearwater American Legion, DAV, VVA, and Forty & Eight. He was a long time volunteer at the St. Cloud VA and the Salvation Army. His volunteer activities taught his daughters to care for those that were less advantaged. He was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Clear Lake and later assisted in the development and became a member of Rejoice Lutheran Church, Clearwater.
Denny is survived by his wife of almost 50 years Ramona; daughters Tracy (James) Ketzeback, St. Cloud; Cherise Nielsen, Menomonie, WI; and Dawn Nielsen, St. Cloud; grandsons Bradie, Blake and Tobee, all of St. Cloud. He is also survived by one sister Mary Ann (Donald) Brown, Brea, CA; and several nieces, nephews, cousins and good friends.
Denny was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Geraldine King and Margie Bahr, brother James Nielsen; brother in law Gerald King; nephew Randy King; and niece Cheyenne Hommerding; along with several aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Denny’s family would like to extend a big thank you for the staff in Building 51-2 at the St. Cloud VA for their wonderful care, and also Jay Keller for his lifetime of friendship and daily visits until the end.