May 14, 1945 - February 16, 2013
Dr. Kris Nielsen passed away on February 16, 2013, at home on Unionville Ranch, with his wife by his side, after a long battle with cancer. He will be missed by those who knew him and loved him. He was truly an amazing individual.
Kris R. Nielsen was born in Hartford Connecticut in 1945, and grew up in Connecticut. He was very involved in Boy Scouts. Kris served in the Navy. He graduated from Princeton University in 1967 and went on to earn a Law Degree from George Washington University Law School in 1970 and a doctorate degree from Kochi University of Technology in Japan in 2005. With a never-ending thirst for knowledge, he was in the process of earning his Certificate in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law. Kris was a principal owner of many businesses in his career, all based on his extensive knowledge of construction. His experience includes risk management, dispute resolution, claims management, audits and assessments of executive and operation management, process, performance, prudence and related project-specific and corporate issues, project management, standard of care, fraud, project controls, design and development, management evaluations, change management, contract negotiations, administration, feasibility studies, partnering, value engineering. He also served as an arbitrator.
Kris met Patricia Galloway through his work, and in 1987 they married. The two worked together on projects, and successfully managed their businesses, earning the nickname 'the dynamic duo.' Project locations gave Kris the opportunity to travel to many international locations. He spent considerable time in Asia, Australia, South America and Europe over his career. He had a love of adventure, and his story-telling ability was legendary. He had a passion for wine, and he and his wife owned a vineyard in New Jersey. In 1976, Kris traveled to Seattle while working on the Kingdome project. During this time, he visited the Cle Elum area, knowing that someday he would live there. In 1986, while working for the Washington Public Power Supply System, his wife commented it was time to be 'bi-coastal' and they bought a condo in Seattle, giving them a base to begin looking for property in Kittitas County. In 1995 they found the perfect setting and shortly after bought and moved to Unionville Ranch.
Kris wrote two books during his career, his first published in both English and Japanese regarding the Japanese construction industry; and, the second a book on the subject of managing large construction projects that is now used as a textbook in college courses. He received the American Society of Civil Engineers Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award in Construction in 2010 for his many contributions in construction risk management and best practices. Many in the industry describe him as the brightest individual they ever met.
Locally, Kris Nielsen served as the President of Life Support, a local non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the ability of emergency first responders to aid the residents of Kittitas County and those traveling through the I-90 corridor.
He was a member of the Gold Buckle Club at the Ellensburg Rodeo. He loved the Cle Elum area and the people who lived here. Kris respected the western lifestyle, and followed its code. He enjoyed hiking, fishing, shooting, riding, and was always up for a new adventure.
Along with his wife, he established a Foundation to assist scientists and engineers in developing creative and innovative ideas that will combine the technical concepts of science and engineering with social management in order to improve the quality of life for all. He loved to mentor young people involved in engineering and construction, and derived satisfaction in knowing there was a new generation learning and striving for project success.
Kris learned he had a rare soft tissue cancer in 2010. He continued to live his life to the fullest degree possible, traveling and working on many exciting projects in his last years. After his cancer diagnosis, Kris traveled to Alaska to fish, to Africa on a month-long Safari, on a month-long cruise of the Northwest Passage, a trip to London, a trip to Japan, a trip to Montreal, a week-long adventure in South Dakota, a trip to Montana, and a 25 year anniversary renewal of vows with his wife in Las Vegas.
Kris is survived by his wife and partner Patricia Galloway, four daughters from previous relationships, and thousands of friends around the world.
There will be a public Memorial Service on March 9, 2013 at 12:00 Noon at Unionville Ranch, 1750 Emerick Road, Cle Elum. The service will be a cowboy gathering to celebrate 'The Last Ride' in the Ranch arena. Dress is western, casual and will begin with a chuck wagon lunch.
RSVP's are appreciated: (509) 857-2235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Car-pooling is appreciated as parking is limited. The family requests that in lieu of flowers or food, donations be made to the Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 tax-deductible charitable organization. Checks can be made payable to the Patricia Galloway and Kris Nielsen Foundation and sent to Brenda Pearson at 1750 Emerick Road, Cle Elum, WA, 98922.
Published in Daily Record from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28, 2013
Arrangements under the direction of:
Steward & Williams Tribute Center
301 East Third Avenue | Ellensburg, WA 98926 | (509) 925-3141