NIELSEN, Philip Edward, age 78, of Centerville, passed away December 30, 2022. He was born July 18, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois; the son of the late John and Doris (Roessler) Nielsen. Phil is survived by his beloved wife of 51 years, Mary Jane (Hill) Nielsen; children, Aaron (Evelyn) Nielsen, June (Paul) Kuonen, and David (Lucy) Nielsen; grandchildren, Julia, Elise, Philip, Cole, Rebecca, and Harold; brother, John (Brenda) Nielsen; and extended family members and friends.
From a young age, Phil had a strong interest in science, especially physics, that culminated in a Ph.D. in physics from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH. After graduating, he began his career with the United States Air Force in research and development, where he proudly served for 26 years, retiring as a Colonel. Phil earned many awards for leadership and research throughout his distinguished career. After retiring from military service, he continued to support the Defense and Intelligence Communities as the Vice President of Technical Operations and Chief Scientist at MacAulay-Brown, an engineering and technical services company. Due to his unique and important technical contributions he was inducted into the Electronic Warfare Technology Hall of Fame. Physics was more than a career to Phil, physics was “phun” and a significant part of his life.
Phil was a devout Lutheran and a dedicated church member serving in many capacities for church leadership and ministry over the years. His faith was extremely important to him and it continually guided his life. He had a special interest in ecumenical activities with the Catholic and Lutheran churches as he attended and participated in both Epiphany Lutheran Church and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church with his wife Mary Jane. Over the years, Phil participated in ecumenical dialogues between the churches and he and Mary Jane mentored many couples in preparation for interchurch marriage.
For most of his life, Phil was an avid runner and eventually an avid walker. He delighted in observing birds, bird families, and all their habits. He encouraged their presence in his yard by meeting the requirements for a Certified Wildlife Habitat. He was dedicated to his family leaving his children with memories of “wrestling” on the floor, riddles and jokes at bedtime, campouts and activities. He adored his grandchildren and was always hands on. He was happy to play cards with them, especially “Spoons,” tell scary stories, participate in Ultimate Hide and Seek, as well as other games. He was a superb husband and partner, always remembering to celebrate their monthly wedding anniversary for 51 years. Phil’s passing will leave an enormous void in the lives of everyone he knew.
A visitation will be held on Monday, January 16, 2023 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at Routsong Funeral Home, 81 N. Main St., Centerville, OH 45459. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 10:00AM at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 6430 Far Hills Ave., Dayton, OH 45459. Family and friends may visit from 9:00AM until the time of service. Interment will follow at Dayton National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Epiphany Lutheran Church, www.epiphanydayton.org, or The Foodbank, www.thefoodbankdayton.org, in memory of Philip Nielsen.