John K. Nielson

June 15, 1941 ~ March 9, 2020 (age 78)


John K. Nielson, 78, of Nisswa, formerly of Norwood Young America and Alaska, passed away with his family by his side on Monday, March 9, 2020.  A Celebration of John’s Life will take place with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Francis Catholic Church on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.  There will be a visitation one hour prior.  Following a luncheon, John will be interred at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Camp Ripley.  Military Honors will be provided.

John was born June 15, 1941 in Grand Forks, ND.  He was the son of Ralph and Connie (Burkhardt) Nielson.  John was raised in Buxton and after graduating from high school continued his education in hopes of becoming a Veterinarian.  In 1961, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served his county in the Vietnam War.  After his honorable discharge, he started his career with the Alaska Railroad eventually becoming the railroad’s manager of safety.  John went on to work for the State of Alaska’s OSHA Department as an enforcement officer and later in life, as a contractor for AIC, an Alaskan Oil Company.

Although he never completed his education in veterinary medicine, John’s love for animals never changed.  He brought home baby raccoons to care for, named one of his daughters after his favorite cheetah at the zoo, and volunteered to bring animals to local schools.  John met Anne Bohlinger when she was working at his brother’s Dental practice.  And although she was warned about his propensity to be an equal opportunity offender - his infectious laugh, ability to tell amazing stories, and big heart stole her heart.  The couple married in 1968.  John and Anne were blessed with two amazing daughters.  He was a very protective father who wanted nothing but the best for his girls.  And since John often could be quoted saying, “Once a marine, always a marine” they had to be quite creative to get one past their dad.  John loved nature and often spent time fishing and hunting.  His grandchildren learned quickly how much he loved to laugh – and to make others laugh with him. 

He will be greatly missed by his wife, Anne; daughters, Katie (Marlon) Galbadores, of Brainerd and Cassie (Tim) Spitzley, of Brainerd; grandchildren, Hannah, Noah, Samantha, Sarah, and Sabrina; and sisters, Connie, of Minneapolis and Veronica, of MO.  He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Ralph.

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