Jerry William Nielsen, 74, joined the Lord peacefully in the family home in Big Lake surrounded by his loving wife and children on November 28, 2020. We rest assure dad’s pain and suffering of Parkinson’s and Dementia was released when entering our loving Father’s arms in heaven. He is serving the Lord and reunited with his first-born son, Jamie, playing beautiful music with his best friend, Bob Hollister in heaven.
A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty – Our dad was rich with loving his kids and wife and taught us all how to love unconditionally, forgive quickly, to give to the less-fortunate and to count our blessings. Dad would give his last dime to help serve others in need, always present to supply a helping hand or advice. He would say his biggest success was his family and we could not agree more.
He was born on January 7, 1946 in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of the late Luella (Anderson) and Harry Nielsen. Siblings, Helen (Wayne) Luetchens, Jack Nielsen, half bothers; Rex Chereck, Pat Chereck and many nieces and nephews.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Janet (Marlow) Nielsen of 28 years; his children, Hidi (Bob) Schell-Karas, Mindi (Jon) Nichols, Tami Frye, Brenda (Jake) Jennings and Bobby (Andrea) Nielsen; grandchildren, Jazmyne Schell, Lucas Schell, Zachary Schell, Alivia Willard, Allison Nichols, Carson Nichols, Brianna Frye, Anker Frye, Ryder Jennings, Shelby Jennings, Coledon Nielsen; great- grandchild, Alder Handy; and the Marlow family.
A MacGyver aka “Jerry-rigged”, fabricator and Mechanic he could fix and repair anything! His talented ways were also his passion when creating beautiful blacksmith artwork in his incredible beloved shop.
Before he graduated, he joined the Meat Cutters Union and worked full time as a meat cutter for Safeway. After graduating from Tech High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He served his country in the Navy from 1964-1968 during the Vietnam Era. After his years in the Navy, he travelled Mexico with his guitar, played music for coins and enjoyed living a simple life amongst the sand and ocean. He then lived in a simple cabin on the Cypress Island while recovering from the Navy and sailing the waters. Settling down in Big Lake where he purchased the family home.
Jerry raised 5 kids and at times worked two jobs to make certain his family of seven was well cared for. Jerry stitched a 100 bill to his jeans and when he ran out of money, he worked at La Conner Fish & Cannery as a maintenance man. He worked as a welding fabricator and mechanic Rozema Boat Works, Skagit Steel Corp. Sedro-Woolley Lumber Mill, and retired from Intalco in 2006 as a Machinist. After retiring, dad and his loving wife explored Alaska together along with many other states. They traveled around the states attending Blacksmiths conference’s where Jerry became known throughout for his beautiful artwork and knowledge of tools, making his own tools, and teaching anyone who was interested in his passion for blacksmithing.
He loved taking off on his motorcycle for days, camping under the stars or time on the water fishing, sailing, or swimming. Dad was an avid swimmer; he would swim across Lake McMurray and Big Lake and back as his kids played on the shore.
Jerry’s love for his family was the heart of us all, always worried about his kids. His humor always brought laughter to the family and we always enjoyed watching him chase after his beautiful bride or give her a hard time. He loved to write little notes to us all and sign them “Love Zorro”.
A wise man who enjoyed teaching his kids and grandkids the importance of life, always a story or lesson to be learned as Dad’s childhood wasn’t easy. He wasn’t one to give up and quickly, learned how to be tough to survive Polio as a kid and fight off the bullies. He began working at a young age to be able to feed himself. He took on various jobs for the elderly, delivering papers shoveling snow or odds and ends in exchange for a hot meal or paid in stamps; which he ended up collecting. His lessons as a child carried forward in teaching his kids to be hardworking, honest and caring. To never give up and to always give to others.
He was a proud member of Northwest Blacksmithing Association, Washington Vintage Motorcyclists, The wildcat Steelhead club and an active lap swimmer at Riverside.
Dad would say “safety first”; therefore, a celebration of life will be held later when it is safe for all to attend. In lieu of flowers, Dad would want to provide to the homeless, help a friend or stranger out or donate to a charity close to your heart. Share your memories of Jerry and sign the online guest register.