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Anthony (Tony) C. Nielsen

May 5, 1952 - January 6, 2018

  On Saturday, January 6, Tony Nielsen died surrounded by family and friends. Tony has been and will continue to be remembered as gentle, kind, funny, and generous.


     Born at Salem Hospital on May 5, 1952, to Chuck and Maxine Nielsen, Tony grew up on Pioneer Drive with his older brother, Mike. He attended Morningside, Judson, and South Salem High schools and began his working career as a child at his father’s grocery store, Nielsen’s Vista Market. Tony graduated from the University of Oregon, where he studied English literature and often credited his professors with sparking his lifelong love of literature and philosophy.


     In 1968 his parents built a cabin on the water at Detroit Lake. It became an epicenter for Tony to pursue his love of skiing and to entertain large groups of friends. The cabin allowed him to share his love of the mountain and the lake with his children and those who spent time there.


     In 1990, Tony married Margaret and together they raised three children: Elizabeth, Andrew, and Sarah. Time spent with his family was the center of Tony’s life. He loved being able to share with them his books, music, skiing, road trips, and tips such as staying in hotels with pools and always making time for naps.

     In his work and in his spare time, Tony worked to bring sustainable neighborhoods and urban green spaces to Salem. In 1995, he won the Governor’s Livability Award for Morningside Heights, and in 2000 was awarded the Developer of the Year by 1000 Friends of Oregon. Tony was part of group that purchased the Fairview Training Center to create sustainable, eco-friendly neighborhoods. The culmination of his passion came with the development of the Pringle Creek Community, where he moved with his wife last year.


     Tony is survived by his wife, Margaret, and their children, Elizabeth, Andrew, and Sarah; his nieces, Jennifer Kelley and Kelli Nielsen; and great-nieces and –nephews Jourdan, Kate, Jaden, and Lucy. He is preceded in death by his mother, Maxine (1971), brother Mike (1989), and father Chuck (2001).


     Join Tony’s family and friends for a Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 30, 2018, at Pringle Creek Community Center (3911 SE Village Center Drive, Salem). There will be an informal outdoor/indoor open house from 1:00-4:00pm with a short memorial service from 1:30 to 2:00pm.


Hawaiian shirts and lake wear encouraged.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinson’s Research

 He will be so missed by so many. 

                                                               "The sun is setting, it’s time to get off the mountain"


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Guest Book Entries

Tony is a special man that I shall never say goodbye to!  My life was blessed by knowing him and walking many times every inch of our city.  Too many memories to  share but so thankful for what he shared with me.  See you soon Tony!  To be continued. 

 I first learned of Tony’s passing from my sister via some of her 1973 SSHS Alums on about Jan 9th.  Having seen Tony not that long ago, I was hoping it was somehow a mistake – Calling, text messaging, Googling, searching Statesman Journal sites & FB messaging some other SSHS class of  ’70 friends. Sadly, I finally learned it was true.
            I send my Love & Condolences to you, Margaret and your family. Thanks for the call (on Tony’s phone) to fill me in on the details at such a difficult time.
            Soon, memories of  some good times came flooding back. Backyard basketball on Pioneer Dr., working with Tony for his dad, Chuck, as a Vista Market boxboy, the Artic Circle, cruising in his Yellow Firebird and much more.
One special highlight was the trip we took to Sun Valley, Idaho in 1969 or 70. Tony, Roger Cades & I went with my family and rented a Condo in Sun Valley. We three Amigo’s took lessons in the mornings and skied all afternoon til it was  “time to get off the mountain”.  Roger can probably recall Tony’s unique double-poling technique back then. After class we’d ride up the (since removed) Exhibition chairlift and marvel at the sun-tanned Austrian ski instructors wedeling down the fall line, occasionally hitting a bigger mogul straight on, nail a gelandesprung - split jump combo while twirling poles and yodeling into the crisp air. Wow, to be that good we dreamed!
I remember later, back at South Salem, Tony, Roger & I  proudly wore our souvenir Sun Valley Logo blue work shirts to school .. only to be vetoed as an inappropriate, overly casual style by Wes Ediger, Dean of Students. Nazi-esque we thought!
 Recently, over a glass of wine on the High St  porch, Tony told me that trip had a big influence on his future skiing and having Condos in Sun Valley & Taos.
A couple years ago, I stopped by with my mom, who also had Parkinson’s. I went to the door and Tony came out to the car. Mom loved it, especially since her long-term memory was the stuff of legends! It was a wonderful twilight highlight for her. They held hands and Tony joked that they were “shaking hands”. Thanks, Tony !!  I will cherish these memories forever. May you be skiing free somewhere, bouncing through the powder, maybe even learning how to yodel.
Your friend, Jerry Woodcock