Carolyn Jeanne Nielsen
Carolyn Nielsen passed away peacefully at home on the morning of November 5, 2021, surrounded by her partner (Belinda Salazar), family (Izzy Jones, niece Janie Jones) and close friends (Connie Feeley & Annabelle Amos). She struggled with Alzheimer’s disease for six years.
Carolyn was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1937 to Chester and Margaret Nielsen. She had one sibling, a sister Marcia Kay Nielsen.
The family moved to North Hollywood, CA in 1946 where she attended elementary school and then went to North Hollywood High School. She first attended Pre- Nursing classes at Los Angeles Valley Junior College in 1955 but soon moved on to Technical Illustration at both Pasadena City & Glendale City Colleges.
Carolyn joined the Navy Reserves in 1957 and retired in 1978 having achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer. She held a private pilot’s license for single engine airplanes.
In 1962, she moved to Santa Barbara. She came on a weekend to visit and fell in love with the city. She returned to North Hollywood to pack her belongings and moved to Santa Barbara and found work as a Drafter for Honeywell Information Systems, Goleta General Electric, Harvey Radio, Intelex Incorporated, and Renco Corporation in Goleta. Her work at Renco motivated her to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering from UCSB at the age of 35. She fulfilled this goal in 1977. Subsequently, she began working at SBRC in January 1978. SBRC evolved into Raytheon where she retired in 1998. Carolyn loved being retired and she used this time to become a gifted watercolor artist. She honed her skills at gardening, as well as in reading, entertaining, and spoiling her cats (Toby and Sofi).
Even though Carolyn knew no one in Santa Barbara, she quickly made it a home with friends that turned into family. She & Belinda owned a cabin up by Yosemite at Pine Mountain Lake that brought them much joy which they shared with family and friends.
Her love for the outdoors motivated her to hike, windsurf, sail, golf, swim, bike, picnics, and walking. She & Belinda traveled all over the world even to the bottom tip of Antarctica. She had an extreme love for singing so she joined Sweet Adelines in 1978. After performing in many shows she retired from Sweet Adelines in 2010.
Carolyn is survived by her partner Belinda Salazar of 38 years, Vi Benavides (Debbie) of 60 years, sister-in-law Sharon Salazar, nieces & nephews Janie Jones, Jason (Christy) Salazar, Bryan (Eve) Salazar, Derric (Jenna) Salazar, Rosemarie (Larry) Moreland, Louie (Marie) Salazar, & Marissa (John) Barron, great nieces & nephews.
My appreciation & gratitude goes out to Connie Feeley, Annabelle Amos, & Yolanda Torres for helping me care for Carolyn. The past 2 weeks prior to her passing the attentive care she had from VNA (Hospice), (Bethann, Karen, Bruce, Rebecca, & Martha), along with Izzy Jones (great-niece).
Memorial service will be held on November 27, 2021. Mass will be held at Saint Raphael Church at 5444 Hollister Ave., S.B. at 10:00 a.m. Grave site at Calvary Cemetery 199 N. Hope St., S.B. with Military Honors at 11:30 a.m. Reception at Mulligans Café & Bar 3500 McCaw Ave., S.B. 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Visiting Nurses Association; Hearts Therapeutic; or Animal Shelter Assistance Program, Alzheimer’s Assoc., or St. Raphael Church.