After serving in the US Army at Camp Hood and Camp Kilmer and a lengthy ski trip throughout Europe, he married his beloved Eleanor (Gundersen) in 1958. Mr. Nilson worked in commercial fishing with his father before becoming a dock builder and member of Union Local 1456. After extensive commuting, he finished building the Nordic Hills lodge on Cold Brook Road in 1967. For 29 years, Mr. and Mrs. Nilsen operated the lodge while raising their three children, Sonja, Erik, and Karl. Mrs. Nilsen died in 1989.
Mr. Nilsen continued building, remained an avid skier well into his 70s, and picked up golf at age 50. He became a charter member of Haystack Golf Club, seldom missing Breakfast Club or tournament play. Winters in Sarasota allowed for additional golf with a group of retired firefighters as well as greyhound racing, or “feeding the dogs.” He was a great dancer, both in popular and Norwegian styles, and always loved a party. A 65-year member of Nansen Lodge 3-410, Staten Island, and a lifetime member of Sons of Norway highlight his dedication to comradery and heritage.
He will be lovingly missed by a host of friends and extended family throughout the United States and Norway.
Surviving family members include Erik and Kim Nilsen, Karl and Jen Nilsen, and grandsons Nick and Gunnar, and Sonja Nilsen and granddaughters, Rachel and Sarah Rubin and Kyla Lavoy.
He also leaves four nephews and a niece in New Hampshire, children of his late sister, Gerd, and Richard Smock.
Following cremation, Mr. Nilsen will be laid to rest with Eleanor in Riverview Cemetery through a private service with military honors.
Join close family and friends at Haystack Golf Club on Saturday, July 6, from 5 to 7 pm, in celebration of a Viking’s life lived long and well.
The family sends a message saying, “Alfie (Papa), we love you and can only hope we’re someday greeted by the same heyyy!! or sarcastic grin we’ve come to know so well. Hvil I fred.”