ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Tom Nielsen 58 years old , born on June 9, 1952 and passed away on June 27, 2010. We will remember him forever.
Posted by Patricia Nielsen on June 9, 2020
Tom would have been encouraged by the number of demonstrations for racial justice this year. I miss his political commentary now more than ever. He had such a good ability to soothe tension with humor if a discussion with an opposing voice became heated. We miss him this birthday.
Posted by Steven Schou on June 28, 2015
Tom would have made a wonderful grandpa. Make sure the grandchild on the way knows about him.
Posted by Patti Nielsen on June 9, 2014
Tom would have been 62 today and considering retiring, since most of his siblings have this year. He would have been working on getting the yard cleaned up after the huge hail storm that hit Blair. I am grateful for the way he planted so many bushes, trees and flowers. They will come back. He will never leave my heart.
Posted by Loyd Neve on June 9, 2014
The last 4 years have gone by fast and a lot has happened in the world, especially in politics. I often think of you often when thinking about the political mess we are in right now. I had fun yesterday help Patti cleanup after the hail storm. I thought about you as I was doing it knowing how much you loved doing that kind of work! I miss you.
Posted by Patti Nielsen on June 9, 2013
Tom was such a good conversationalist. He could talk about almost any subject. Of course, his favorite topic was politics. At times I wonder what he would have said about the news event of the day, but in general, I know, due to his liberal viewpoints. It is true that the departed stay in your heart, and Tom stays in our hearts and minds.
Posted by Patti Nielsen on June 27, 2012
Tom was an enthusiastic vacation planner and enjoyed each and every trip. When I've asked Erik and Sonja where they most feel their dad's presence, they talk about the outdoors near where they live. What a gift he gave them! They can carry him with them wherever they are.
Posted by Patti Nielsen on June 9, 2012
Tom would have been 60 today. Like the song "Forever Young," he'll always be 58 to me. Today I want to celebrate the Fun Tom. I loved that childlike, spontaneous part of him. He would throw snowballs at me, tease, laugh, go belly boarding with the kids in the ocean, and sneak up on me and say, "BOO!" Tom, you are missed and loved. Thanks for teaching us the importance of having fun.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Patricia Nielsen on June 9, 2020
Tom would have been encouraged by the number of demonstrations for racial justice this year. I miss his political commentary now more than ever. He had such a good ability to soothe tension with humor if a discussion with an opposing voice became heated. We miss him this birthday.
Posted by Steven Schou on June 28, 2015
Tom would have made a wonderful grandpa. Make sure the grandchild on the way knows about him.
Posted by Patti Nielsen on June 9, 2014
Tom would have been 62 today and considering retiring, since most of his siblings have this year. He would have been working on getting the yard cleaned up after the huge hail storm that hit Blair. I am grateful for the way he planted so many bushes, trees and flowers. They will come back. He will never leave my heart.
Recent stories

My Dad and the Library

Shared by Patti Nielsen on May 1, 2012

My Dad and the Library

 By
Erik Solevad Nielsen

            It’s a nice, cool day in Santa Barbara. I am sitting in the 4th floor of the UCSB library. It is empty of students and very quiet and peaceful. It reminds me of my father and his occupation: Director of the Dana Library. I remember when he got the job. I think he had been unemployed for a while and I remember him sitting on our front stoop smoking a cigarette and telling my mom that he got a new job at the circulation desk at the Dana library. He was very happy, I’m sure, but wanted to keep his composure and maintained a very matter-of-fact attitude about it. In fact, he almost seemed displeased when compared to how happy and proud my Mom was! I’m sure my Dad was looking forward to his new job. Our house was walled with bookshelves and he remains one of the most well read people I have ever known.

            Over the years, I would end up spending a lot of time at the Dana Library. I would go there with my Dad as a young adolescent and read various books and try to kill flies (a game I played on the 2nd floor). My Dad would usually be at the circulation desk at this time. Over time he would be promoted and promoted again, and his office would change. I remember it most clearly when it was located just off the lobby of the library. It was a small room made smaller by the stacks of books and papers around the room. This is where he was officially located during most of my years spent at the library. Toward the end, he got a new office that was tucked away in the back. It was larger, which meant that there was more room for more books and stacks of paper! This was his final office at the Dana College Library.

            When I began college at Dana, I would see my Dad much more regularly. Usually, I would awaken in the morning to him preparing coffee and getting ready for work. Sometimes during my time at Dana, I adopted his schedule—go to bed late and wake up early. Sometimes I would get a ride with him to Dana, but usually I would meet him there at the library when I would do some research. We would step outside and smoke a cigarette together. Our conversations were usually dominated by 3 topics: 1) the politics of the day (this was the Bush era, so lots of discussions were had!); 2) the troubles my friends were getting into; and 3) my own academic tasks. As time progressed, our conversations would center on graduate school and plans to move on with life.

            I often wonder what my Dad would have done if he would have lived to see Dana close down. He seemed very comfortable with his position at the library and would not have liked to commute to a job in Omaha, which would probably have been necessary. Within three days of his death, we were told to clean out his office because the bank was foreclosing on the property. It was hard enough being hit with the sadness of his sudden passing, but then to have to go immediately clean out his office was heart wrenching. However, I had not been in his office for several years and it gave me a glimpse into his daily work life. On his wall was a pyramid of pictures, topped by one of the Cuban revolutionary art piece called “Guerrilla Jesus” and a photograph of John Lennon.

            My Dad in many ways was a library himself and I will always miss him and the tomes of knowledge which he would open for us.

Steinbeck's Influences

Shared by Sonja Anne Nielsen Adams on October 13, 2011

One of my dad's favorite authors was John Steinbeck who wrote about California, where my grandma grew up, and about working-class Americans, who my dad sympathized with.  Upon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, Steinbeck said "The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion, and love."  Steinbeck did this beautifully when he wrote about ordinary people.  He certainly appreciated the beauty of nature and the beauty of the human spirit.  His political, anti-capitalistic views are aparent in his narration of the plight of the working class.  My dad was certainly influenced by Steinbeck's literation of people's lives.  I remember my dad telling me that after reading Tortillia Flats in jr. high, he had aspirations to become a wino!  Steinbeck certainly influenced my dad to care about "the little guy," but not in a superficial or contrived sort of way, but  with genuineness and appreciation.

Parallels between Narcissus and Goldmund and Dear Prudence

Shared by Sonja Anne Nielsen Adams on October 13, 2011

Herman Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund was my dad's favorite book and the song Dear Prudence was written by my dad's favorite musician, John Lennon.  Recently, I noticed the parallels between the two works.  Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of two friends in the Middle Ages who have devoted their lives for the search of God.  Narcissus, the intellectual, spends his life in the Catholic monistary devoted to contemplating God and becoming close to him.  Goldmund finds a different way to be with God.  He leaves the monistary to travel and learn about God through being in God's world, which is not always kind.  Goldmund finds that the way to be close to God is to be with his creation i.e. nature and people, and that one cannot experience God without living and without living one cannot die.  
 
Dear Prudence was written by John Lennon after The Beatles stayed in India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  Mia Forrow's sister Prudence Farrow was there studying as well, but she hardly saw The Beatles because she spent all of her time inside her cottage meditating and searching for enlightenment.  John wrote the song for her "as a simple plea for a friend to snap out of it."  After reading the history of the song, I immediately thought of how similar Prudence and Narcissus are.  Both are searching for enlightenment through themselves while Goldmund and John searched for enlightenment in the beautiful world.  John wrote the song for Prudence, but Goldmund could easily be singing this to Narcissus - or Tom could be singing to all of us.
 
Here are two parts of the song:
 
Dear Prudence, open up your eyes
Dear Prudence, see the sunny skies
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence, won't you open up your eyes?
.....
Dear Prudence, won't you come out and play?
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence, won't you come out and play?