Cover photo for John Nielsen's Obituary
1939 John 2023

John Nielsen

October 5, 1939 — July 26, 2023

Kansas City

Harold John Nielsen, 83, of Kansas City, MO, passed away on July 26, 2023. John was born October 5, 1939 to Arthur and Mabel Nielsen in Newark, NJ and raised in Canada, where he graduated from Wolfville Academy in Nova Scotia.

John returned to the United States and served in the Air Force before attending and graduating from Washburn University in Topeka, KS. He was a Systems Engineer in telecommunications, employed by Lucent Technologies for 35 years, and he especially enjoyed his time at the FAA building in Olathe, KS.

John married Karen (Merritt) Nielsen August 6, 1983, in Olathe, and they enjoyed almost forty years of marriage.

Throughout his life, John loved traveling and took a trip around the world when he was forty-two. Eventually, he visited all fifty states, six continents, and dozens of countries. Among his favorite places were New Zealand and Provence, France. Later in life, he enjoyed cruises.

John loved to ski. He was a long-time member of the Kansas City Ski Club, where he helped organize and lead many ski trips. Once upon a time, he even heli-skied.

An avid sports fan, John closely followed and rooted for all the KC area sports teams (Royals, Chiefs, and KU Jayhawks). While living in Colorado, he adopted the Rockies, the Nuggets, and the Avalanche. He also celebrated the team of his youth, the Montreal Canadiens (the Habs).

John loved barbeque and became a certified judge with the Kansas City Barbeque Society. He judged events in both KC and Colorado.

In retirement, John spent much time in Summit County, Colorado, where he was a member of the Summit County Seniors. John hiked with the “Herd of Turtles” every Thursday, and he was a guest services volunteer at the Breckenridge Ski Resort. John and Karen enjoyed hosting family and friends at their home in Frisco.

John was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Arthur Nielsen, and his sister, Irene Willis.

John is survived by Karen, his loving wife of 39 years. John is also survived by his two children: Christine Nixon of Gardnerville, NV (husband Doug) and Rachael Adams of Kansas City, MO (husband Eric); five grandchildren (Jason & Justin Nixon; Jared, Jason, & Audrey Adams) and five great grandchildren.

John will be honored in a memorial service at Terrace Park Funeral Home on Saturday, August 5 at 2:00 PM. Visitation starts at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Children’s Mercy Hospital ( or to the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Nielsen, please visit our flower store.


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