Joseph F. Nielson
November 10, 1925 ‒ April 11, 2018
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Joseph F. Nielson, age 92, of Mount Vernon, passed away on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at his home. He is the son of John and Estella Becktold Nielson, was born November 10, 1925 in Bristol, PA. He is survived by his wife of 69 ½ years, Esther, daughter and son-law Becky and David Erwin, son and daughter-in-law Mark and Joan Nielson, grandchildren Erin Rexroth (husband Phil), Kristen Hill (husband Brandon), Scott, Ben (wife Sarah) and Courtney Nielson, and five great grandchildren Haley, Harper, and Finley Rexroth and Maddex and Hayes Hill. Preceding him in death are his three brothers, John, David, Robert, and two sisters Marion and Alice.
Dr. Nielson is a World War II veteran having served in the infantry on the front line in the Battle of the Bulge. He was then transferred to the military police where he became a first sergeant at the age of 19. He entered the military as a Christian teenager but came home a Christian man. He never wavered from trusting Christ while serving in the war.
After the war, he attended Olivet Nazarene College (University) where he met his wife, Esther. Upon graduation, he pastored 20 years serving Nazarene churches in Fredericktown and Bucyrus, Ohio and Saginaw and Mason, Michigan. While serving in Mason he participated in several civic activities such as recruiting medical doctors for the community. Under his direction, three medical doctors set up practice in Mason. During his time in Mason he completed a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Michigan State University.
In 1969, Joseph became a professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Olivet Nazarene College (University). During his time at Olivet, he created two programs for pastors— a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling and a Master’s degree in church management. Both of these programs not only provided educational opportunities for pastors and lay people from the Nazarene denomination but also inter-denominational churches of the protestant faith. In 1974 and 1979, he was voted Teacher of the Year and in 1975 he was selected “Who’s Who” in the Midwest. Furthermore, he co-authored books and several articles for the Nazarene Publishing House.
As a layperson, he was very involved in his church, College Church of the Nazarene, located in Bourbonnais, Illinois. He served on the church board for over 20+ years, taught both adult and young adult Sunday school classes, and while his son was in middle school, he served as a Caravan leader. He also served on several church district committees and boards. Finally, he was a member of the Kankakee County Training Center, was on the village board of Bourbonnais, and he was a member of the Juvenile Division State of Illinois.
Finally, Joe was a committed Christian and loving father to his children and grandchildren, but more importantly husband to his wife, Esther. On June 16th of 2018 he would have celebrated 70 years of marriage.
Friends may call on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 9-10am at the Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene. A service will follow, beginning at 10am, with Rev. Scott Sharpes officiating. Burial, with military honors provided by the Knox County Joint Veteran’s Council, will follow in Mound View Cemetery.
The family would like to thank the staff at Brookdale Mount Vernon for their wonderful care and compassion.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene (16001 Glen Rd. Mount Vernon, OH 43050) or to: Olivet Nazarene University – Endowment Fund ( 1 University Ave. Bourbonnais, IL 60914)
To send the family a condolence online visit: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com
The Dowds-Snyder Funeral home is honored to serve the family of Joseph F. Nielson.