Charles Emmet Nielsen - Portland, Ore.

Jan. 26, 1932 – July 24, 2017

Charles Nielsen died July 24. Charles suffered from Lewy Body Dementia.  

Charles was born January 26, 1932 on a blizzardy night to Niels and Emma Nielsen at the family farmhouse near Badger, South Dakota. His grandparents were all Danish immigrants.  Charles attended Quinn country school and Arlington High School where he participated in football, track, and served as student body president before graduating in 1950.  

Charles was a man of faith and attended a country church within a mile of his home as a boy.  It was during his boyhood that he made the decision to put his trust in Jesus as Savior and was baptized in Lake Poinsett.  Later the family attended church in Brookings where he met Phyllis Nichols, the love of his life.  

The two were married July 23, 1953 at the Brookings Church of God and celebrated their 64th anniversary just one day before his passing.

Charles headed to Anderson College in Indiana in 1951 where he earned a B.A. in sociology in 1955 and a MDiv in 1958. While studying in Anderson he also worked full time at General Motors. From 1958 to 1960 Charles served as associate pastor at the St. Joseph Michigan Church of God.  

In 1960 the family returned to Brookings, South Dakota where Charles taught at SDSC while working on his second master’s degree (sociology).  They moved to Dickinson, North Dakota in 1963 where Charles took a position as an Associate Professor of Sociology.

In 1966 the Nielsen family moved to Portland where Charles taught a variety of subjects in the social science department at Warner Pacific College.  He loved being a college professor.  Charles was a dynamic community member with church responsibilities, active on legislative issues, and always working to improve race relations.  

After his retirement in 1996 after 30 years of teaching at Warner, Charles continued to be very active in Warner events as an emeritus faculty member and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2012.  Charles continued to be active in the community serving at his church as well as in a variety of other volunteer positions. 

Family was Charles’s passion.  Charles was an avid outdoorsmen and loved to travel, camp, boat, fish, hike, and ski. 

Charles was preceded in death by son Mark, parents Niels and Emma, brother Clint, sister Opal, sister Violet, brother Lyle, and brother Elden.  He is survived by his wife Phyllis (Portland, Oregon), brother Curtis (Sioux Falls), sister Vicki Stephens (Tifton, Georgia, husband Frank), sister-in-law Eris Nielsen (Sioux Falls), brother-in-law Dick Nichols (Brookings, wife Shirley); children Linda Plikat (Manfred), Randy Nielsen (Kerri), Patti Long (Tim), daughter-in-law Margie Nielsen, 

16 grandchildren: Adrian Fehr, Nikolas (wife, Ioana Precup) Fehr, Bethany (Fehr)(husband, Joshua) Paetkau, Corey (wife, Emily) Nielsen, Cassie (Nielsen) (husband, Ben) Shirley, Cody Nielsen, Jill (Nielsen) (husband, Kevin) Moua, Brett (wife, Sara) Nielsen, Collin Nielsen, Caitlyn Nielsen, Cameron Nielsen, Colby Nielsen, Sharon (Long) (husband, Jon) McNeil, Matthew (wife, Kaitlin) Long, Bethany (Long) (husband, Tavis) Miller, David (wife, Cammie) Long

23 great-grandchildren: Solomon and Rose Paetkau; Ian, Micah, Payton and Elise Nielsen; Jozlyn, Samantha, Rochelle and Jayden Shirley; Jeremiah and Adina Moua; Connor Nielsen; Odin, June and Jonas McNeill; Charlotte, Grace and Gabriel Long; Josephine, Benjamin and Violet Miller; Lukas Long

Charles’ life will be celebrated with a memorial service Saturday Aug. 5, at 10:30 a.m. on the campus of Warner Pacific College, 2219 SE 68th Ave., Portland, Ore.

Memorial options

• Warner Pacific College (Charles Nielsen Social Sciences Scholarship Fund)

• To give online, click on this hotlink:

• Lewy Body Dementia Association

• Click here to give online:

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