John H. Nielsen

John H. Nielsen

John H. Nielsen, age 92, passed away July 21, 2023 at his home in Holladay, UT. Known to some as “Jack”, he was a unique and adventurous soul, always young at heart. He was born on Christmas Day 1930 in Salt Lake City to parents Mary and Joseph, and was the youngest of 7 children. 

His zest for life was evident from his early years, starting with roller skates and a makeshift sail, progressing to sailing the Great Salt Lake with his family, and even up to the age of 91, racing around the Bonneville Salt Flats on his landsailer, showing his children and grandchildren that age is just a number.

His love of cars began as a young teen with the purchase of a dark green 1934 Ford Sedan for $100. Some of his favorites he owned were a red Austin Healey with tonneau cover, a demo first year Corvette, a 1932 3-window Ford Coupe, and the first Ford Thunderbird. In his younger years, he loved racing cars on the same Salt Flats he would landsail on years later. In his last several years, you could see him zipping around town in his blue Tesla, sometimes with his parrot riding on the steering wheel.

He was an extremely talented artist working as an illustrator for the BLM for over 30 years, as well as assisting in the design of the Utah State Logo in 1987 and creating designs for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic pins. A veteran, he served his country in the Korean War as a radio operator. 

He was thrilled to become a dad and took on the role with much enthusiasm, building tree houses, rope swings, tire swings, ponds, and even stilts for his kids to enjoy. He learned how to unicycle and was happy to see his children all learn with him.

He was a tender, sensitive man who cared about people and animals. He had many exotic pets over the years including a donkey named Chiquita, an ocelot named Fadra, and an Amazon yellow-naped parrot named Alexa. His parrot gave him loyal companionship for the last 7 years of his life. 

He is survived by his three children; Niki Davis (Jonathan), Eric Nielsen (Brie), and Kelli Johnson (Anthony); and five grandchildren, Madeleine, Jasper, Tessa, Emma, and August, all of whom will miss “papa” or “bird grandpa” greatly.

The family will be holding a small private gathering. Donations are appreciated to Alexa the parrot’s new home at Ronie’s For the Love of Birds where they will take excellent care of her while helping her find a new home ( 

1 Comment
  • Delsa Feil
    Posted at 08:08h, 07 August Reply

    We all really loved Uncle Jack.. He was a treasure! We share genetic gifts and talents. He will be fondly greeted by loved ones in his next life. I believe his enthusiasm for life will continue.

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