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Obituary: NIELSEN, EUGENE

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 30 2014 10:43 p.m. MDT

Eugene Nielsen 1916 ~ 2011

OGDEN - Our beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Eugene P. Nielsen, 95, passed away Thursday, February 3, 2011, due to natural causes. He was born January 23, 1916, in Logan, Utah to Jens Peter and Martha Ann Sorenson Nielsen. His father died when he was 12 in 1929, leaving the family to struggle through the Great Depression. Dad joined the Civilian Conservation Corp and worked in Sanpete and Cache counties and on the This is the Place Monument. In April 1940, he enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to Ft. Mills, Corregidor, Philippine Islands. He was placed in the 59th Coast Artillery and trained as a range setter on huge coastal defense guns and infantry. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Philippines were also attacked. Dad then endured five straight months of intense combat and artillery and aerial bombardment. On May 6, 1942, the Corregidor garrison surrendered due to lack of food and ammunition and Dad became a prisoner of war of the Japanese. Almost three years of starvation, beatings, hard labor and cruelty followed. On December 14, 1944, Dad was among 150 POWs at Puerta Princessa, Palawan Prison Camp. The POWs were forced by their Japanese captors into covered air raid trenches. A massacre followed where only 11 survived, including Dad. Despite being shot and suffering from starvation and malaria, he swam through the night to escape down the island and made contact with brave Filipino guerillas who contacted US forces in Australia. Dad was picked up in a behind-the-lines air rescue and flown to Moratai, New Guinea, then taken to San Francisco. The Army finally caught up to him and sent him to Washington, D.C. where he reported to General George C. Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. One of his proudest moments was when General Marshall pinned the Bronze Star on him. For his wartime duties he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and the POW Medal. He assisted the military in the war crimes trials that followed. Dad met Mom the day he returned to Cache Valley. She became the love of his life and they were married on March 7, 1946 in the Logan LDS Temple. Mom was the perfect wife and mother and worked hard for 54 years to heal Dad from the unseen wounds of war. Together they had four children, Sharlene (Jim) Peters, Bruce (Janice) Nielsen, Janet (Bill) Cevering, and Lorna (Ross) Murray. He graduated from Utah State University in 1950 in Business Management and Economics. He started work with the US Postal Service then spent most of his career at Hill Air Force Base in materials management, retiring in 1978. The hardest thing Dad ever faced was when Mom passed away in 2000, yet Dad managed to live on his own, working in his garden and with his fruit trees. We would like to say a special thank you to Glen Larson and his recently departed Lucille for lookig after Dad and being his friends. For us children, our lives were filled with adventure, opportunity and fun. Dad took us camping, hunting, fishing, boating, and traveling every chance he got. There was no national park, major city, or high mountain range in North America that was too far to take us. We never missed the deer hunt or the opening day of fishing. Dad's favorite things included Aggie football and basketball, river running, catching big fish, snowmobiling, growing fruits and vegetables, and a big campfire on a moonlit night far up in the mountains. He taught us the value of education and how to hunt, fish, shoot, fix a car, think, and live. He remains a tower of strength to us and we will remember Dad and Mom every day of our lives. Dad is survived by his children, seven grandchildren, Michelle, Levi, Jennifer, Justin, Derek, Tera, Rachel, six great-grandchildren; brother, and sister-in-law Dale and Pat Nielsen, Midvale; sister-in-law, Merle Dunkley, Layton; brother-in-law, and sister-in-law, Robert and Norine Allen, Logan; and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death are his most beloved wife, Gwynne Allen, his brother, Weldon, three sisters, Delora Sill, Cleo Nielsen, Lila Nielsen, a grandson, Jordan Murray, and a great-grandson, Klinton Capener. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, February 9th at 2:00 p.m. at Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd. The family will meet with friends on Tuesday from 6 to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. at the mortuary. Interment, Lindquist's Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch, 1718 Combe Road. Email condolences to the family at: www.lindquistmortuary.com