Funeral services for Russell W. Nielsen, 87, were conducted by Pastor Steven Frock on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. at the Brayton Lutheran Church in Brayton. Interment was in the Arlington Heights Cemetery in Audubon. Military Graveside Services were conducted by Brayton Post #350, American Legion. Honorary casket bearers were: Mark Johnson, Mike Haley Sr., Darwin Warner, Earl Wiechman, Kirk Knudsen, Bruce Hoegh, Winston Hoegh, Terry Johnson, Larry Nelson, Andre Sampson, and Jeremy Best. The casket bearers were his grandchildren: David Swinford, Charles Swinford, Haley Silverthorn, Lauri Nielsen, Patrick Swinford, and Andrew Swinford. Kessler Funeral Home in Exira was in charge of the arrangements.
The Guest Book is expired.
Russell Wayne Nielsen, the son of Jens Kogaard and Caroline Christine Anderson Nielsen, was born Oct. 17, 1922, at his parents' rural home in Shelby County, and died Sept. 25, 2010, at the Exira Care Center in Exira, at the age of 87 years, 11 months, and 8 days.
Russell was baptized and confirmed at the First Methodist Church in Audubon, in 1947. He attended rural schools through the eighth grade and later received his high school diploma in 1970 by attending night classes through the Audubon School District GED program.
In March of 1945, Russell was inducted into the U.S. Army. During his tour of duty he served in Guam and the Philippines. He was honorably discharged in December of 1946 and returned to the Audubon area to farm.
On Nov. 24, 1946, he was united in marriage to Mary Jane Hunt at her parents' home in Audubon, by Rev. Hugo Orf. Two children, Susan and Ron were born to this union. They lived on and operated several different farms in and around Audubon County. These farms included living south of Fiscus, near Bayard, in Melville Township, and near Viola Center, before farming in the Brayton area. Russell's daily chores included milking the cows twice a day, separating the cream and "slopping" the hogs with milk. They sold their cream to the Crystal Springs Creamery in Kimballton, and their eggs to the Audubon Produce in Audubon. In addition to dairy cows, Russell raised beef cattle, sheep, chickens, and ran a farrow to finish hog operation. They retired from farming on Feb. 28, 1980 and moved to Atlantic. Russell was employed at the Atlantic Junior High School as a custodian. He enjoyed being around the children and they appreciated his kindness and interest, fondly referring to him as "Grandpa.". He retired from the custodian position in 1997 then worked part time as a security guard for the school until he finally retired in 2001. They enjoyed their home in Atlantic and then moved to the Exira Care Center in March of 2008. Mary Jane died April 30, 2010.
Russell became a member of the Brayton Lutheran Church in the fall of 1974. He was also a member of the Brayton Post #350, American Legion and had served as Adjutant for many years. Russell loved fishing, reading and listening to or telling a good story or joke. He also enjoyed playing cards, especially pinochle, pitch and solitaire.
Preceding him in death in addition to his wife, Mary Jane Nielsen, were his parents, his brother: Martin J. Nielsen; his sisters: Margaret and husband Virgil Jaszarowski, and Wilma and husband Bill Kivett.
Survivors include his children: Susan and Ronnie Swinford of Conception Junction, Mo.; Ron and LuAnn Nielsen of West Des Moines, IA; his grandchildren: David and Beth Swinford of Smithville, Mo.; Haley and Clete Silverthorn of Ankeny; Charles Swinford of Conception Junction; Patrick and Becky Swinford of Barnard, Mo.; Lauri Nielsen and fiancé Stu Wessels both of Ames; Andrew Swinford of St. Joseph, Mo.; his great-grandchildren: Connor Matthew and Case Richard Swinford of Smithville; Madelyn Marie, Mackenzie Louise, and Maggie Sue Swinford of Barnard; Sadie Diane and Colten John Silverthorn of Ankeny; his sisters-in-law: Bertha Mae Nielsen of Audubon, Ruth and Burdette Hansen of Bonita, Calif.; his aunt Elizabeth Anderson of Audubon; many nieces, nephews other relatives and friends.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8, 2010