Max Gerald Nielsen, 81, passed away from complications to Alzheimers on Sunday, August 28, 2016 at his home in Downey, Idaho.
Max was born November 21, 1934 in Ogden, UT to Niels Peter Nielsen and Lillie Peterson Nielsen.
Max worked on the family farm milking cows, growing and harvesting crops and learning excellent horsemanship skills. That is where he learned a work ethic that was admired by many throughout his life. He also worked at Swift & Co for 9 years.
It was on the banks of the Ogden River at the age of 17 that he met his future wife, work mate and best friend. They dated on horse back and after his service in the Army from 1959 to 1961 in Korea they got married on July 1, 1961 and were sealed in the Logan LDS Temple on May 4, 1966.
Max moved his family to Downey in May of 1962, originally crop sharing on the Burt Almond farm and then was hired as co-foreman on Dr Burkett’s farm. In 1964 Max and JoAnn bought 232 acres of virgin ground north of Downey on Hwy 91. It took them several years clearing and planting approximately 40 acres each year and building a dairy herd of about 125, all while growing their family to five girls, raising his nephew Ted Looney, and driving a milk route. His hard work and determination to turn that ground into fertile farm land won him Bannock County Grass Man of the Year in 1973.
Max’s true passion in life was family, farming, horses and flying. He could always be counted on without fail to help others and was kind, thoughtful and patient. Max knew no stranger and always had a story to tell about his wild mustang’n days, his flying adventures and his days as a child in a large family during the depression. A smile and good humor came naturally to him.
He held several callings in the LDS Church including Sunday School Presidency and President, Elders Quorum Presidency, and most recently, co-nursery leader with his wife JoAnn where his “kid at heart” personality was at it’s best and endeared him to many children.
Max is survived by his wife JoAnn Huntington Nielsen of Downey, his 5 daughters Debra Nielsen of Pocatello, Kathy Nielsen Kelley of Shelley, Julie (Jesse) Anderson of McCammon, Kris (Jeff) Bingham of Malad and Susan Nielsen of McCammon, 15 Grandchildren and 20 Great-grandchildren and his baby brother James Nielsen of Preston.
Max is preceded in death by his 5 brothers, Woodrow, Robert, Paul, Swede and Emanuel and his 7 sisters, Theresa, Mayetta, Myrtle, Camellia, Gladys, Anna, Jeanette and his granddaughter Whitney McQuivey.
The family would like to express our love and appreciation to Alliance Hospice who lovingly cared for our Dad and continues to help our Mother through these difficult times. We especially want to convey our love to Kim Day whose expertise and devotion to our parents will never be forgotten.
In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to be made to the Alzheimers Association at www.alz.org/donate. Graveside services will be held Thursday, September 1 at 12 noon at the Downey Cemetery with military rites being accorded by the Downey American Legion, Post #21. Friends may visit with the family at the Downey LDS Church on Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. and Thursday from 10-11:30a.m. prior to the Graveside. Condolences and memories maybe shared and an obituary found by visiting www.horsleyfuneralhome.com