Services Scheduled For James John Nielsen Sr.

Category: Obituaries
Created on Wednesday, 08 May 2019 15:56
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James John Nielsen Sr., “Big John”


James John Nielsen Sr., “Big John,” passed in Sitka May 3, 2019, at age 89.
He will lie in state at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi community house beginning 6 p.m. Monday, May 13.
His funeral service will be at noon Tuesday May 14, at St. Michael’s Cathedral, with Father Ishmael Andrew officiating. Interment will follow immediately afterward at Sitka National Cemetery, with a reception following at the ANB Founders Hall.
John was born June 20, 1929, in Sitka, to Peter and Dora Nielsen, the sixth of their seven children. All were born in Lot 1, Block 8 of the Sitka Indian Village. He died at SEARHC hospital  May 3 after suddenly falling ill.
John was the Big Man of the Chookaneidi clan. His Tlingit name was Chatskooogoo Éesh and Gooch Shaayí, Sheet’iká dax Chookaneidí naashuháni, Xaatl Hít dax (the Sitka Chookaneidi clan leader from the Iceberg House), Kiks.ádi yádi (a child of the Kiks.ádi clan).
John was a sergeant in the 208th infantry battalion National Guard, and received his honorable discharge July 18, 1953. He was a marksman in the rifle and pistol, and received many awards, too numerous to count. 
He worked for the Indian Health Service for more than 33 years. He also was a shore boat operator and a captain in the BIA Fire Department.
John belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church from the time he was a young boy, and enjoyed attending church and holding the holy icons, which he was proud to do. He attended   church up until he was no longer able due to health complications.
He was also a shareholder in Sealaska Corp. and Shee Atika Inc. He was part of the first group of shareholders fighting for changes in the local corporation. He was a Tribal Citizen of Sitka Tribe of Alaska and served on the Tribal Council.
His family and friends will remember his big smile and infectious laughter. He had a quick wit about him. He loved playing pool and darts and was part of these leagues for many years. His pool league teammates recently stood around the pool table at Ernie’s turning the music off and did a moment of silence for him. The family was touched by this. One of his favorite lines was, “What the heck kind of Indians were those (as the cowboy was running away with darts in his back).”
He was an avid Seattle Seahawks and Mariners fan, and loved traveling to watch games with his nephew who predeceased him, Phillip Nielsen.
He loved going to garage sales.
John was the last surviving child of Peter and Dora Nielsen. He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters: Albert Nielsen Sr. (Ethel Makinen), Agnes Bartels (Harry), Raymond Nielsen Sr. (Marian), Arthur Nielsen, Frederick Archie Nielsen (Lu) and Katherine Williams.
He was predeceased by his daughters, whom he loved very much: Sandra Lee Nielsen and Mary Jolene Rodriguez.
He is survived by his sons, Jim, Robert and Leonard Nielsen; and grandchildren Pete Martin, Kimmie Lapchynski (James), Garrett Nielsen, Derrick Nielsen (great-grandchildren DJ and Neva Nielsen), John Jacobs, Michael Overman (great-grandchildren Adrianna, Elijah), and Brian Overman.
He had many nieces and nephews who loved him very much: Jeffrey Nielsen, Kenneth Nielsen Sr. (K.L. Nielsen) and Lillian Nielsen Young (husband, Kyle, and children Kyla and Joshua), Christine Clingenpeel (Mandy and Stefanie), Dori Biggs (Richard Scooter Biggs), Doug Bartels, Clyde Bartels (Kenneth Bartels); (predeceased nephew Jay Bartels, his children Steven and Kristin Bartels); Shirley Senn (Steve Senn and children, Sandy Covington Payne, Raymond Covington, Jennifer Senn); (predeceased niece, LouAnn Wood, her children Tracy Bose, Theresa Camacho, Travis and Trenton Wood), Leilani Lolly Nielsen (Keith Schroth, Phillip Marek, Elsie Marek, Agnes Marek), Raymond Nielsen Jr.; Eileen Weathers (James “Eddie” Weathers and children, Jamie Paris and Jessica Weathers); Tim Tutiakoff Jr. (Tamaria Hillman, Tim and Jeremy Tutiakoff), Cynthia Carlson (Jay Young, Sherry Whitney and Katherine Matthews).
He also loved his dogs very much: Brät, Kootz and Snoopy.
Pallbearers will be Pete Martin, John Jacobs, William Biggs, Joshua Young, Wade Marty Martin, David Ness, Tom Gamble, Tom Young III, Jeff Young, Chad Titell, Harry Lysons, Larry Garrity, and Sitka Chief of Police Robert Baty.
Honorary pallbearers are Herman Davis Sr., Kenneth Nielsen Sr., Jeffrey Nielsen, Raymond Nielsen Jr., George Bennett, Johnny Duncan, Albert Duncan, Chuck Miller and Brian James.
John’s family may be contacted through Robert Nielsen at 105 A2 Burkhart Drive Sitka, AK 99835 (907) 738-1634. Donations can be made to Robert Nielsen that will be put in an account for John’s funeral arrangements, reception, 40 day and Koo.Eex’. The family thanks everyone for their love, prayers and support during this very difficult time.