The livestream for Karen’s service can be found via the link below.
Karen Annette Dickson Nielsen (age 82) died on June 6, 2021, at Rosewood on Broadway in Fargo, North Dakota, following heart failure and a stroke suffered in March 2021. A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Fargo, North Dakota, on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at 10:00am, with visitation starting at 9:00am. The service will be livestreamed on Boulger Funeral Home’s website.
Karen was the first child born to George and Florence (Erlandson) Dickson in Davenport, Iowa, on November 10, 1938. As a child, Karen’s family frequently moved between Delaware, Texas, and Iowa, finally settling in Derby, Kansas, where Karen graduated from high school in 1956. Karen then attended the University of Kansas and Kansas State University where she earned degrees in nursing and home economics.
After college, Karen joined the US Navy in 1964. During the Vietnam War, she served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (NC) at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she trained nurses, including Gary Nielsen of Plentywood, Montana. After completing her service in 1967, Karen spent some time traveling the country in her Volkswagen Beetle, camera always in hand, before marrying Gary on October 31, 1970, in Missoula, Montana.
In 1974, Karen and Gary moved to Fargo, North Dakota, where Karen taught nursing at St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing (now Sanford Hospital). Later, she taught nursing at Moorhead Tech (now Minnesota State Community and Technical College—Moorhead) and worked nights as a registered nurse for Hospice of the Red River Valley.
Karen was a member of Edgewood United Methodist Church and later First United Methodist Church, where she volunteered with the Caring Closet and was active in Seekers. She was also involved in the Quilters Guild of North Dakota, helping with their annual quilt show, and she volunteered with the Emergency Food Pantry. Karen enjoyed sewing, knitting, crocheting, photography, traveling, chatting with her sister, and spending time with her grandchildren.
Karen is survived by her children, Benjamin (Damien) of Milwaukie, Oregon, and Andrew (Jenny) of Fargo, North Dakota; her granddaughters Marastella, Joanna, and Veronica of Fargo, North Dakota; and sister Carole (Ernie) Pearce of Sun City, Arizona; as well as many caring nieces, nephews, and other extended family and friends.
Karen was preceded in death by her husband, Gary; her parents, George and Florence Dickson; and her brother, Bill Dickson.
Karen requested that her body be donated to the medical school at the University of North Dakota. Even in death, Karen is still teaching future nurses and doctors. Eventually, Karen’s ashes will be interred next to her husband’s cremains at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan, North Dakota.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice of the Red River Valley, where Karen passionately worked for many years, and who cared for Karen in her final days, or your local chapter of the ALS Association.