Dan Sommers Nielsen
Dan was born in Devil’s Slide, Utah, on Jan. 31, 1924, to Charles Willard and Elizabeth Francis Nielsen. He was the youngest of six children. He attended school in the tiny community of Devil’s Slide and later graduated from Morgan High School in Morgan, Utah. He was active in sports and was an extremely talented baseball player. He played first base for the Utah Cementers, a semi-professional baseball team. Right out of high school, he was drafted by the New York Yankees, but he chose to serve his country in the United States Army. Dan trained as an aircraft mechanic in Ogden, Utah. For a period of time, he was stationed in Florida and served in England. He was recognized for his honorable service.
After the war, Dan returned to pursue his education at Utah State University. He was involved in baseball, basketball and fraternity clubs. It was there that his met his wife, Willa Dean Clark. He pursued her by consistently, sending her an unusual amount of flowers, which later she discovered that he was working at a flower shop. After their three-year courtship, they were married in the Salt Lake City Temple on Sept. 14, 1949. They both graduated from Utah State and moved to Helena, Mont., and he began working for Firestone. After a hard winter and hating the extremely cold temperatures, they transferred to Twin Falls, Idaho, where it was MUCH WARMER. While living in Twin, he decided to become a teacher. He was hired at Twin Falls High School and taught algebra and geometry for more than 30 years. Together with his wife, Willa Dean, who was a dance major, they opened up Nielsen School of Dance in Twin Falls, which is still going strong.
Dan and Willa Dean had four children, two sons, Kim and Trent, and two daughters, Teresa and Pam. Sadly, Teresa was taken from this life at 3 days old due to complications at birth, and their adopted daughter, Pam, was taken in a tragic motorcycle accident at the age of 15.
Dan was a valiant member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as an early morning seminary teacher for many years. He was also a gospel doctrine teacher, regional and area dance co-director with his wife, and he served in the 6th Ward bishopric.
Dan loved to hunt, fish, garden and decorate his house for Christmas for the whole town to enjoy. He won many awards for his efforts. He loved to sing and was a member of the Barbershop Magichords. He devoted much of his spare time to help Willa Dean with dance recitals, performances, competitions, etc. Because of his love of sports, he would always find time to attend his kids’ and grandkids’ games. Though known as a quiet, mild-mannered man, he was not shy when it came to voicing his opinion to referees. Dan and Willa Dean loved to travel, host parties and spend time with friends and family at the cabins.
Dad was a quiet, gentle, spiritual man with a contagious laugh. He had a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and always talked of his concern for his family living righteous lives. He was greeted by many loved ones on the other side who have been waiting for his arrival. We know he is happy.
Dan is preceded in death by his wife, Willa Dean; his parents; three brothers; and two sisters; and two daughters, Teresa and Pam Nielsen. He is survived by his two sons, Kim (Pam) Nielsen and Trent Nielsen of Twin Falls; two grandsons, Brandon (Aubrey) Nielsen of Fullerton, Calif., and Blake (Ciera) Nielsen of Twin Falls; two granddaughters, Jamie John (Jarom) of Meade, Colo., and Jazlyn Nielsen of Twin Falls; nine great-grandchildren and two on the way.
Visitation for Dan will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at Rosenau Funeral Chapel, 2826 Addison Ave. E. in Twin Falls. A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25, at the Twin Falls LDS West Stake Center, 667 Harrison St. N. (across from Harrison Elementary School). A second viewing for family and friends will be held prior to the funeral at noon Friday at the church. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park.