posted December 14, 2009

Communications Professor Emeritus Ted Nielsen Dies

Hope College Professor Emeritus Theodore Lynn (Ted) Nielsen died on Friday, Dec. 11, at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids following a brief illness. He succumbed to a rare disease called vasculitis, and was only hospitalized for a short while.

Prof. Nielsen was a member of the Hope communication faculty from 1975 until his retirement in 2000. He developed the classroom program of cable broadcasting that gave Hope students on-the-air experience in television production for more than 20 years. He also collaborated with staff colleagues in producing promotional movies/videos for the college.

He earned degrees from the universities of Iowa (BA), Michigan (MA) and Wisconsin (Ph.D.).

Prior to joining the Hope faculty, he had taught at the University of Massachusetts, Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin. He had also worked in radio and television from 1953 to 1967, and won the Peabody Award in Education Broadcasting in 1958 for his work as director of Fred Roger's Children Corner, forerunner of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, at WQED in Pittsburgh, Pa.

In 2000 he retired as the Guy Vander Jagt Professor of Communication.

Since retirement he had volunteered at the Holland (Mich.) Museum as a docent and a photographer. Ted's interests were wide ranging beyond his work. He loved the music of Mozart and Mahler, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the plays of Shakespeare and Chekhov, and the paintings of Van Gogh and Hopper. He enjoyed travel, great food, and good wine. Ted was a sports fan, Cubs and Tigers baseball and UM football especially. His bassett hounds, most of them rescued dogs, were always welcome companions.

His wife, Joyce, worked in Van Wylen Library from 1977-2003.

Ted was born on December 15, 1933 in Chicago. He was preceded in death by his parents, Theodore J. and Esther Nielsen; his sister, Sue Villanderer; and his brother, Alan Nielsen.

In addition to this wife, he is survived by a dauhter, Elizabeth (James) DeWilde of Holland, Mich.; a son, Dale (Janice) Nielsen and granddaughter, Crystal Nielsen of Amherst, Mass.; his sister, Jean Lehman of Galena, Ill.; and his brother, Glenn (Margaret) Nielsen of McFarland, Wisc.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15 at the Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home, 315 E. 16th St., Holland, with the Rev. Sharon Mahood of Des Moines, IA, officiating. Rev. Mahood was a faculty colleague of Ted's at Hope College.

Visitation will precede the service at 1 p.m.

The family is requesting that memorial gifts in honor of Ted's life and work be made to the Theodore Nielsen Prize Award in Communication at Hope College.