Donald Arthur Nielsen

July 9, 1928 ~ October 12, 2021 (age 93)


On October 12, 2021, at age 93, Donald Arthur Nielsen passed away and went home to be with Jesus. He was a husband, father, and grandfather who was much loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed until we see him again. Don was born in Cozad, Nebraska, on July 9, 1928 to Arthur and Metta Marie Nielsen (ne‚ Madsen). He had two older brothers, Alfred and Kenneth, and one younger brother, Jerry, who have all predeceased him. In spring 1929, the Nielsens moved to Santa Ana, Ca., where Arthur owned a gas station for many years and Metta instituted the annual Nielsen Family Cookie Party still celebrated to this day. Don attended Wilson Middle School and Santa Ana High School, where he was student body president and a member of the CIF champion football team. He graduated high school in 1946 and went into the Coast Guard Academy. In 1947 he returned to California and enlisted in the US Navy, serving for two years in the flight training program. After an honorable discharge, Don attended UC Berkeley where he graduated with a degree in History. Later he earned a Masters from Long Beach State University. On January 29, 1954 he married Ann Laverne Edwards of Tustin, Ca. They were married for 50+ years until Ann passed away in May of 2004. They had three children together: son Kurt (Connor and Kiera, with Shari Dunn), daughter Kristin (Taylor and Haley, with husband Kenny, and Taylor's sons Jay, Jaden, and Jackson), and son Erik (Erika, Austin, and Gage, with wife Margo). In 1955, Don began a 29-year tenure with the Anaheim Union High School District. He began as a history teacher but soon became a school administrator, where he spent most of his working years. He finished his career in education as an Assistant Principal at Savanna High School, where he retired in 1984. Don was an accomplished fly fisherman, and his career as a teacher and school administrator left the summer months open for long trips with his family, made in search of the best fishing spots the Western US (and Canada!) could offer. He was also an avid golfer and spent much of his retirement enjoying the game. After Ann's death, Don married again to Jaqueline (Jackie) Briggs, on April 9, 2005. They were happily married until October 12 of this year, the day they both passed away. Jackie's children Terri, Diane, and Danny were more than kind to Don, and did so much to make his and Jackie's last years comfortable and happy. Don left behind a large family and an even larger circle of dear friends fellow teachers, fellow golfers, and fellow fishermen who will all miss him deeply. He always found so much in life to be happy about. There will be a celebration of life at Brown's Colonial Mortuary Chapel in Santa Ana, Ca. on Saturday, November 13, at 10:30 am.

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Memorial Service
November 13, 2021

10:30 AM
Brown Colonial Mortuary
204 W. 17th St.
Santa Ana, California 92706

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