Early in the morning of December 22, our dear mother, grandmother and great- grandmother, Ann Nielsen, died peacefully in her sleep of the complications of old age, just four months short of her 100th birthday.
Ann was born in North Dakota on April 19, 1912 (one week after the sinking of the Titanic, a fact that she was fond of sharing with people) to Ukrainian immigrant parents John and Nellie Lazoski. Her early years were spent in northern Alberta, Canada where her parents homesteaded. It was there that she developed her lifelong love of animals, nature, and the outdoors. She grew up in Minneapolis, MN and left school early to support her mother and two younger brothers after the untimely death of her father. She was especially proud of the time she spent as the executive secretary to the vice-president of the Minneapolis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was in Minneapolis that she met her future husband, Ross Nielsen, and ultimately followed him to California to be married after he accepted employment in the nursery business. She arrived on the train carrying a lampshade in her hatbox—a treasured contribution to their home together. They were married on June 17, 1939.
In 1949 a business move brought Ann and her family to Santa Barbara where she resided until her death. Ann was a devoted wife and mother whose greatest joy was her family. She also loved to travel and took many trips with Ross, visiting his family in Denmark and many other destinations along the way, until his passing in 1980. She took great pride and pleasure in her home, raking up the leaves on her “little corner of the world” as she was fond of describing it well into her 90’s. In her later years she was also a one-woman eldercare assistance program taking food to her older neighbors, ferrying friends to medical appointments and the like.
Ann is survived by her loving son, Paul (Carolyn), daughter, Carla O’Neill (Desmond), grandchildren Paul Erik Nielsen, (Kim), Kristine Nielsen Weber (Pat), Siobhan O’Neill, Eileen O’Neill Guerard (Ben) and three great grandchildren, Tanner Nielsen, Taylor Weber, and Alan Guerard. Ann was the heart and soul of our family. We will miss you, Mom, and honor your century of life forever.
We would especially like to thank Larissa Murchison and all of her wonderful staff at Your Home, where Mom resided for the past 3½ years. Your care and concern for our Mother was extraordinary and we will always be grateful.
Funeral services will take place at 10:00am on Tuesday, January 3 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 1300 East Valley Road, Montecito. Friends who wish may remember the Santa Barbara Humane Society in her honor.