James (Jim) Nielsen, 96, charismatic and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather passed away surrounded by family in Colorado Springs, Colorado on March 21, 2021. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska on March 23, 1924 to Jens Munk Nielsen and Astrid Marie Pedersen Nielsen. Jim was honored to be an American and truly loved his country. He was a dedicated servicemember in the U.S. Army participating in the European Theater of WWII serving under General George S. Patton in the Third Army. He continued his military career as an active member of the U.S. Army Reserves, serving in the 82nd Field Hospital and the 413th Military Intelligence Division, for a decorated 38-year military career where he reached the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4.
He met his wife of 71 years, Rita Catherine Hanna, upon returning from WWII and it was love at first sight for both of them and they were married in 1946. They settled down in Omaha, Nebraska to raise their family of five children. Immediately after WWII, while he was in the reserves, Jim started a career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and also found time to be a Justice of the Peace and a Realtor. He loved all of his jobs, but was so proud to be a part of the Corps of Engineers. He stayed with them for 34 years where his ingenuity and creativity won him numerous awards for his superb design projects and ideas of which many are still in use today. The only break during his time at the Corps was when he was recalled to active duty during the Berlin Crisis which stationed him at Fort Carson, Colorado. He fell so in love with Colorado Springs that in 1984, he and Rita moved to Colorado Springs to spend their retirement years.
Together Rita and Jim filled the lives of their five children and the multitude of grandchildren and great grandchildren with endless laughter, unwavering integrity and a firm trust in the Lord. Jim’s generosity, passion, and handiness will live on in the abundance of woodworking projects he loved to share. He will be deeply missed by his many family members and friends he made along his journey. In passing, he is welcomed by his sweetheart Rita, their eldest daughter Cathy Boone (Eldon), his great grandbaby Madison McIntire, his big sister Mary Kent and his younger brother Harald Nielsen, but leaves behind to cherish his memory and continue his legacy: his children Jim Nielsen (Margie) of Omaha, NE, Steve Nielsen (Jane) of Lynchburg, VA, Suzi McIntire (Terry) of Colorado Springs, CO, and Maribeth Weems (Richard) of Colorado Springs, CO, as well as 22 precious grandchildren and 41 sweet great grandchildren, his sisters Violet Collins of Mt. Carmel, IL and Nancy Hill of Omaha, NE, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will take place Sunday, April 18, 2021 from 3:00-5:00 pm at Cappadona Funeral Home with a Vigil and Rosary to follow. A Funeral Mass is scheduled for Monday, April 19, 2021 at 1:00 pm at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 6455 Brook Park, Colorado Springs (Dublin and Academy). Burial with full military honors will follow at Fairview Cemetery, 1000 S. 26th Street, Colorado Springs.
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