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OBIT: Jack W. Nielsen

At Jack’s request, there will be no public services or visitation and the family will gather privately to celebrate this amazing man and exemplary life.

October 8, 1932 — May 17, 2024
Mason City
Our hero and patriarch, Jack W. Nielsen (91) left us and this earth to be with his Heavenly Father on May 17, 2024. He passed surrounded by family in his home of over 50 years overlooking the calm waters of Lake Cona Toma, holding his wife’s hand. We are blessed to know that a place had been prepared for him in Heaven.

Jack led the most extraordinary life. Born October 8, 1932, in Burlington, Iowa to Carl and Nellie Nielsen. He graduated from Burlington High School in 1950 and immediately enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean conflict. He was stationed in Alaska and even shot a grizzly bear that was menacing the base. After his service, he returned to Burlington where he attended community college. There, he met the love of his life, Joyce (Mosena), to whom he was married for 65 years. Even to the end he would call her “Sweetheart” and ask her for kisses. She was five years his junior and on their first date he took her across the Mississippi, into Illinois, and to a strip joint! Joyce’s father, Dick, was NOT happy at her 3 AM arrival back home. But Jack was not to be deterred, and they were married on August 17, 1958.

After community college, he attended the University of Iowa on the GI Bill and graduated with a finance degree. He lived in downtown Iowa City for a while and kept his milk and bread in the flower pots outside his second story window. He and Joyce also lived in a cockroach infested apartment in West Liberty, Iowa while he finished his degree and she taught elementary school.

Upon graduation, he got a job as a teller at the First National Bank in Mason City, Iowa. He continually rose up the chain and became President of the bank in 1974. He received a Master’s in banking from Wisconsin, and he oversaw the bank as it became Norwest Bank and then eventually Wells Fargo. When the farm crisis hit in 1986, he quit his very lucrative and powerful position because he just couldn’t stand to foreclose on his lifelong friends and business partners farming the rich north Iowa soil. Truly noble. So, with so much life left to live, he took the test and became a realtor with Edwards Brandt and Associates. Of course, he killed that too. He finally retired in 1992.

He had quite a philanthropic career as well. There is a North Iowa Community College scholarship in his and Joyce’s names (he never forgot his junior college roots), and he served on NIACC’s board of directors. He also donated extensively to the University of Iowa and served on the Alumni Association board of directors. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church. He was a loyal Rotarian for over 60 years and served as president as well. He also served on the MercyOne board of directors, and the north central Iowa American Red Cross.

An avid golfer, Jack was a member and financial angel for the Mason City Country Club for decades. He had two holes in one, but he’ll tell you he never achieved more than a 7 handicap. Oh, and poker club. Once a month he’d get with some fellas and play poker late into the night. Joyce would make Maid-Rites and put their two boys to bed.

Jack is preceded in death by his parents Carl and Nellie Nielsen. He is survived by his loving wife Joyce of Mason City, Iowa, his son Steve (Cindy) of Glenville, New York, son Brad (Stephanie) of Shawnee, Kansas, grandchildren Jill Marks (Chris) of Glenville, New York, Ryan Nielsen (Tara) of Oxford, Florida, Alison Clark (Connor) of Olathe, Kansas, and Jack Nielsen (Amber) of Roeland Park, Kansas, and great-grandchildren Krystal, Carter, and Charlotte Nielsen (Ryan) and Christopher and Michael Marks (Jill), and beloved niece Cindy Stevens (Brett) of Danville, Iowa.

The family would especially like to thank and acknowledge the amazing and wonderful care and compassion provided by the staff and nurses of MercyOne North Hospice, particularly Tracy Grooters, Michelle Kingland, Amy Fisher, and Jeri Foreman.

At Jack’s request, there will be no public services or visitation and the family will gather privately to celebrate this amazing man and exemplary life. In lieu of flowers, Jack requests donations be made in his honor to the NIACC Foundation ( or First United Methodist Church in Mason City, Iowa.

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