Neal A. Nielsen Jr., a long-time resident of Sugarmill Woods, Homosassa, Fla., died peacefully at his home in Land O' Lakes, Wis., Feb. 26, 2014. He was 86. Neal was born July 21, 1927, in Lombard, Ill., to Neal and Jarmila Nielsen. He was their only child. Neal was a child of the Depression, and worked hard at a number of jobs from a very young age, including a stint as a caddy, where he developed a life-long love for the game of golf. Following service in the U.S. Army during World War II, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry on the GI Bill.
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He married his wife, Ellen Margaret Nielsen, July 5, 1952 (yes, her maiden name – they met on a blind date). The couple first resided in Deerfield, Ill., where their three sons were born and Dr. Nielsen practiced dentistry. They bought a summer cottage on Big Portage Lake in Land O' Lakes in 1960, and decided to build a year-round home on the property and move there permanently in 1963. Neal then maintained a dental practice in Eagle River, Wis., until his retirement in 1986. He was active in his community and was a long-time member and past president of the Eagle River Rotary Club.
After retiring, Neal and Ellen established residence in Sugarmill Woods for 20 years, from 1990 to 2010, where they enjoyed many good friendships. They were members of Sugarmill Woods and Southern Woods golf clubs.
Neal had four great passions in his life. He loved Ellen and his family. He loved his profession and worked hard throughout his career to continually hone his craft. He loved to play golf. And he really loved to fish, which he pursued all over the hemisphere, from tarpon in Costa Rica to salmon in Alaska, from walleye in Canada to grouper in Florida (his favorite). Ellen was both his golf partner and his partner on every fishing trip over the last 61 years.
Dr. Nielsen is survived by his wife, Ellen; his three sons, Neal "Chip" and his wife, Sharon, Dean and his wife, Kris, and Lee and his wife, Lori; and by three grandchildren, Matthew, Lauren, and Andrew.
A family memorial service was held.
Published in Citrus County Chronicle on Mar. 7, 2014