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October 23, 2023
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Dr. Kenneth Fred Nielsen, beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather passed away on October 23, 2023 after a short illness. Ken was born in Cardston, Alberta in 1927 to loving parents Oliver Frederick and Erma Belle Nielsen. He was a man who lived an amazing life, leaving behind a legacy of love, service and dedication to his family and his faith.
Ken is survived by his sister Lorna Stubbart, four of his five children, Debbie (James) Rowley, Mark (Wyone) Nielsen, Thomas (Linda) Nielsen, and Gregg (Julia) Nielsen. He is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and multi-generational nieces and nephews.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, granddaughter Melissa, siblings Lawrence Nielsen and Hazel Tanner, daughter Kerry Elizabeth, and wife Bea who has been patiently waiting in eternity for him.
He was a life-long learner who studied at Barnwell School, Brigham Young University (BS in Agronomy, class of ‘49), and Ohio State where he earned his PhD in Agronomy in 1952. In his high school days, he played basketball and was good friends with those in his graduating Grade 12 class (the Thundering Herd, for those in the know).
Ken loved his work in agriculture, focusing on soil science and the effects of fertilizer. He kicked off his career as an assistant professor at Ohio State University teaching agronomy before moving on to work for Canada Agriculture, Western Co-op Fertilizer, and CIDA. Along with Bea, he also served 3 working missions for the LDS church to share his agricultural knowledge with the people in Cameroon & Côte d'Ivoire, Papua New Guinea, and Mongolia & North Korea. In 1994 Ken received the Order of Canada for his work on agricultural techniques and crop production.
Ken lived a full life, traveling all over the world with his beloved family for work and adventure. They lived in Ohio, Maine, Ottawa, Swift Current, England, Calgary, Phoenix, Bangladesh, Cameroon, and Papua New Guinea, and visited dozens of other countries by land, air, and sea. He especially enjoyed his cruise with Bea around the Grecian Islands. And on his most daring trip, at age 90 he and his sister Lorna took a cruise to Antarctica!
Despite his travels, he always came home to Southern Alberta. He retired in Lethbridge, where he and Bea made quick friends with their fellow residents at River Ridge. After Bea’s passing, it was rare that Ken went without a dinner invitation from friends, neighbours, and ward members. Ken valued service, and volunteered in his community wherever he could. He spent time at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, was a primary and seminary teacher for the LDS church, and was a sealer at the Cardston Temple. Ken loved teaching, and would regularly host breakfasts for his students to connect better with them. He always got a thrill when couples he had sealed would say hello when they saw him out and about.
The Nielsen family is so grateful to all his wonderful friends at River Ridge and his “Gathering Gals” who helped make his last years more enjoyable. Also a big thank you to all the caregivers and doctors on the 5th floor at Lethbridge Regional Hospital who helped ease his passing.
At his request, no funeral service will be held. All who loved him are invited to celebrate Ken’s life in the way he would want to be remembered, as a loving and caring man who dedicated his life to improving the lives of others. In honor of Ken, please give of your time, talents or resources to someone in need.
Cremation was entrusted to Salmon and Sons Funeral Home.