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Gregg Nielson

November 16, 1947 — October 1, 2012

Gregg Nielson

Gregg Richard Nielson was born to Glenn and Florence Nielson in Breckenridge, Minnesota. He was baptized and confirmed at the First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, MN. While growing up, Gregg loved to hunt, fish, and play sports, especially baseball and golf. He was also active in Boy Scouts, Sunday School and worked several jobs: Wheaton Dry Cleaners, Hoffman Farms, Rons Clothing, Traverse County Highway Department and YMCA Camp Ihduhipi. These experiences helped teach him the life-long values of financial, civic and self-responsibility along with being a team player. Gregg graduated from Wheaton High School in 1965. Gregg attended the University of Minnesota-Morris where he earned a degree in economics. He played on the baseball team, was a resident hall advisor and became a private pilot. He also organized many social events on campus, was known for his practical jokes and belonged to the North Dakota Air National Guard. Immediately after graduation from Morris, Gregg received a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force where he spent the next 23 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was stationed at bases in Sacramento and Merced, CA; Fargo, ND; Spokane, WA; Sault Saint Marie, MI; Omaha, NE; and twice at Rapid City. During his two deployments to South East Asia during the Vietnam War, he flew missions out of Thailand, Okinawa, and Guam. Gregg was a Weapons Systems Officer on F-101 Fighter/Interceptors, Navigator on KC-135 Air Refueling Tankers and a Radar Navigator on B-52 Bombers where he was also a Training Flight Instructor and Standardization Evaluation Officer. He was also a staff officer at Strategic Air Command [SAC] Headquarters and Chief of the Planning Staff on the SAC Airborne Command Post. Gregg married Judith Lynn Hult on September 9, 1972 in St. Paul, MN. They first met while playing guitars in the lounge of their dormitory at college. Their original wedding date had to be postponed because Greggs deployment to Okinawa was extended. To this marriage, a precious daughter, Karyn, was born. The three of them enjoyed traveling, dancing, skiing, board games, cards, and table tennis. They especially looked forward to family gatherings at their home in November when Thanksgiving, Karyns Birthday and Christmas were often celebrated one after the other on the same day. After his military retirement, Gregg worked at Kahler Real Estate. That ended when Milo Winter started the New Horizons Band. Greggs only regret about his high school days was that he hadnt played in the band and this was an opportunity for that type of experience. He learned to play the saxophone and enjoyed making new friends while a member in the concert and dance bands. Gregg was a life member of the American Legion, Air Force Association and Military Officers Association. He worked with Big Brothers in Spokane WA and serviced on the board at Bay Hills Golf Course in Plattsmouth, NE. In Rapid City, Gregg was a board member of the Rapid City Concert Association, played racquetball and was active in several groups at Meadowbrook Golf Course [where he had 5 holes-in-one]. He and Judy had also belonged to the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, 39 Dance Club, Canyon Lake Senior Center and Retreads Motorcycle Club. They often spent winters in Florida with Greggs parents and three of their trips to Europe were with classical pianists, Valentina Lisitsa and Alexei Kuznetsoff. Survivors include his wife: Judy Nielson of Rapid City; father: Glenn Nielson of The Villages, FL; two brothers: Brent [Laura] Nielson of Chesapeake, VA and Royce Nielson of Spring Hill, FL and Glenwood, MN; and one sister: Nancy [Ralph] Kimbrough of Lexington, KY; and two very special friends: Alexei Kuznetsoff and Valentina Lisitsa of New Bern, SC, and numerous relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter: Karyn Nielson and his mother: Florence Nielson. He will be remembered as a loving family member who liked to laugh and help out whenever he could, a dependable team member who liked helping to organize events and a true friend. Memorial services will be 12:00 pm noon, Thursday, October 4, 2012 at First Presbyterian Church, 710 Kansas City Street with Rev. Jeff Kintner and Rev. Robert Bye officiating and arrangements are with Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home, 2700 Jackson Boulevard, Rapid City. Inurnment will be on 11:00 am Saturday, October 13, 2012 at the Wildwood Cemetery at Wheaton, Minnesota and arrangements are with Ranney-Bainbridge Funeral Home in Wheaton. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers that memorial contributions be made to the Karyn Nielson Memorial Scholarship Fund, Attention: Carla Riley, University of Minnesota-Morris, 600 East 4th Street, Morris, MN 56267 or Hospice of the Hills, 224 Elk Street, Rapid City, SD 57701. Expressions of sympathy may be mailed to Judy Nielson, 5120 Copper Hill Ridge, Rapid City, SD 57702
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