At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
the Wounded Warriors Project
Life Story / Obituary
Theodore Christian Nielsen, “Ted”, age 88, passed away Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at Ascension All Saints Hospital. He was born in Racine, WI, March 15, 1934, son of the late Niels and Betty (Nee: Summer) Nielsen.
Ted was a big sports enthusiast all his life. At Washington Park High School, he excelled in football and wrestling, taking second place at the State Wrestling Tournament in his weight class his senior year, “Class of 1952.” He was also an avid golfer up until his later years. He didn’t like to miss watching his teams, the Brewers, Bucks, Green Bay Packers, and his alma mater the Marquette University Warriors play. Ted, wife Gloria, and several of his children were also members of the Racine Curling Club in the early 1970s. He was the catcher on the Racine Dental Group “dentists” softball team. Ted also mastered the sport of Curling and went on to win several of local and national Bonspiels with some equally talented friends.
Ted attended Grandview Junior College in Iowa, for his undergraduate degree. He graduated from Marquette Dental School in 1958 with the help of the Navy. Right out of college he and his buddy drove to California. He was stationed at the Naval Base in San Diego, CA as a dentist, specializing in oral surgery. There Ted met his future wife, Gloria Wojnarowski at the officer’s club in Coronado. Three months later they were married in Las Vegas on February 14, 1960. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra autographed their marriage license that night dining at the hotel. Mr. Sinatra told her that he would sign it if she promised him, she would have many children.
Commander Nielsen served on the USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 carrier on active duty for the next 10 years, traveling to places like Japan, Hawaii, Guam, Philippines, to name a few. During that time, he had six children born in four different locations (California, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin). He returned to Wisconsin to be closer to his mother and worked at the Great Lakes Naval Base in their prosthetics clinic during the day. In the evenings and on Saturdays Ted worked in his buddy’s/colleague’s practice to help make ends meet. Commuting back and forth from Racine to the base in Illinois proved to be very taxing and time consuming. He retired from the Navy reserves in 1969 after 21 years of service, when a fantastic career opportunity was presented to him.
Ted was asked by a group of gifted local dentists to join them in a unique groundbreaking venture. He jumped at the opportunity and became one of the founding members of Racine Dental Group, which opened in 1969. It was the first, state of the art group dental practice, in the state of Wisconsin. He was fortunate to have worked with quite a few quality doctors and staff over the years until his retirement in 1996, after a long fulfilling career in general dentistry.
Ted's other interests were diverse, including gardening, landscaping, astrology, sailing, fishing, jewelry making, architecture, numismatics and Danish Folk Dancing. His number one joy and passion was exploring the U.S. camping with his family. Almost every year in the 70s he would pack up the six kids, wife, and father-in-law and for as many as four weeks at a time, go on a cross country adventure. He made it to 48 states in a Holiday Rambler trailer or in his Class A Pace Arrow. He was even a member of the Holiday Rambler Camping Club in Racine that met several times a year as a group of camping friends. Recently he became a new member of the Faith Bridge Church in Franksville. He truly loved the sense of community and the people that attended the church.
He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend to many. He will be dearly missed.
Preceding him in death are his mother, father, and his wife Gloria. Surviving are his children, Kathy (Rob) Madson, Chris (Terese) Nielsen, David Nielsen, Ann (Bradley) Sollinger, Karen (Duane) Jackson, Tom (Anne) Nielsen, grandchildren, Brianna and Kerra Madson, Ian and Clara Nielsen, Nikki (Matt) Bennett-Fasbender, Brett Bennett, Emma and Ryan Jackson, Andrew, and Cameron Nielsen; great grandchildren, Vaughn Fasbender, Rylee Gustin; and a special friend Joanne Bohm; nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
A memorial service followed by military honors will be held Saturday, May 28, 2022, 11 am at the funeral home with Reverend John Fleming officiating. Relatives and friends may meet with the family prior to the service 10 – 11 am at Maresh-Meredith, Acklam Funeral Home, and Crematory, 800 Main St. Racine, WI, 53403. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Wounded Warriors Project, https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Internment of both Ted and Gloria will be held Tuesday, May 31 at 10am with family, at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery in Union Grove, WI
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the staff at Compassus for their hospice care along with everyone at St. Monica’s Assisted Living for their devoted care of our father over the past year.
The service will be live streamed and may be viewed by going to the funeral home website, select Ted's page, select service, and select live stream.