JOPLIN, Mo. —
Milton passed away peacefully at his home with family by his side on Feb. 26, 2014, one month short of his 94th birthday.
Milton was born in Tyler, Minn., to Harald Nielsen and Thyra Ostergaard Nielsen. He was the grandson of Danish immigrants, and the fifth of 10 children. Growing up Milton lived on a farm which suited him as he loved the outdoors.
Milted served in the Army as a Pathfinder in World War II. He was one of the first to parachute into Normandy on D-Day. Later he was in the Battle of the Bulge and then the last jump into Germany.
After the war, Milton married his soul mate, Gusta Knudtson in Bakersfield, Calif. They had two children, Paula and Mark.
In 1956, he moved to the Joplin area. He began working at Eagle-Picher and continued there until his retirement. He helped to develop batteries for the space program. His favorite memories were going to some of the launches and meeting John Glenn and talking with the Apollo 13 astronauts when they came to Joplin to thank the men who made the batteries that got them back to Earth. Milton was a people person and loved spending time with family and friends. He especially enjoyed golfing and pinochle. He joined Bethany Presbyterian in 1962, and enjoyed fellowship there for over 50 years. He appreciated everyday. If he had a favorite Bible verse it would be - "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Milton was preceded ind death by his parents and nine siblings. He and Gusta celebrated 66 years of marriage before she passed in 2012.
He is survived by two children, Mark Nielsen and Paula Steward; five grandchildren, Tina and Kyle Blotter, Scott and Becky Stewart, Matt and Selina Stewart, Nikki and Trent Stewart and Lauri and Scott Greene; 10 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
A celebration of life service will be held at Bethany Presbyterian Church, 20th and Virginia, Saturday, March 1, at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please leave gifts to Bethany Presbyterian or Oxford Hospice.
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