Paul Kopp Nielsen

Date of Birth

June 24, 1940

Date of Death

October 10, 2016

Paul Nielsen passed away at his home on October 10, 2016, ending a two and one-half year struggle with esophageal cancer. His family and his faithful Labrador retriever, Ruff, were by his side and the sounds of Willie Nelson accompanied him on his final journey.

Paul was born in Montebello, California on June 24, 1940 to Ross and Ann Nielsen. In 1950 he moved to Santa Barbara with his family when his father relocated The Groen Rose Company, the business in which he was a partner, to the Goleta Valley. He graduated from San Roque School and was a member of the 1958 graduating class of Santa Barbara Catholic High School. He was a 1962 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in mechanical engineering. Following graduation, he was employed for several years by North American-Rockwell Aviation in Los Angeles where he worked on various aspects of the early Apollo moon landing project. While living in Los Angeles he met and married his wife Carolyn and following the birth of their first child, he made the decision to change careers and returned to Santa Barbara to join his father in the rose-growing business in 1967.

For the next fifty years, until shortly before his death, Paul was active in various aspects of the nursery business, first as a rose grower with his father, then as a wholesale cut-flower broker (Central Coast Wholesale Florist), a wholesale plant grower (Central Coast Plant Company), and finally as a consultant. During his career as a nurseryman he was active in several trade organizations and frequently served in leadership roles.

Paul was a devoted husband and father who loved hiking and camping with his family and instilled in his children a love of the outdoors. He was also an avid fly fisherman who travelled the western United States always in search of the “big one.” Paul is survived by his loving wife, Carolyn, daughter Kristine Weber (Pat), son Paul Erik (Kim) grandchildren Taylor Weber and Tanner Nielsen, great granddaughter, Riley Ann, and his sister Carla O’Neill (Desmond) as well as several nieces and nephews.

Donations in Paul’s memory may be made to Visiting Nurses and Hospice Care, 509 E. Montecito St. Santa Barbara, CA 93103. A celebration of Paul’s life will take place at a later date. His ashes will be scattered at his favorite trout stream in Montana.

“Eventually, all things become one, and a river runs through it……..”


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