Robert D. Nielsen

October 9, 2020


Robert (Bob) D. Nielsen, 81, passed away unexpectedly due to cardiac arrest and complications from COVID-19 on October 9, 2020 on Bainbridge Island. Born in Santa Monica, California, he was the son of Myra (Noel) and Air Force Brigadier General Charles F. Nielsen. Bob was preceded in death by his wife and the love of his life, Josette, after 58 years of marriage. Bob is survived by his brother, John Nielsen (Connie) of Huntington Beach, California, his four children, Julie Pazoff (Gary), Peter (Jodi), Mark (Barbara) and Susan, his nine grandchildren Miles, Hannah, Simone, Emma, Alyssa, Ian, Joelle, Erika and Charlie and two great grandchildren, Sophia and Stella.

Bob and Josette met while attending Santa Monica High School, and they married in 1958. Even though Bob was 6’7”, science and technology was his true calling, not basketball. After studying at Caltech (where he got to study with Richard Feynman and Linus Pauling), Bob moved to UCLA where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied physics. Bob spent most of his career at Hughes Aircraft working as an aerospace engineer at their Southern California location before relocating to the Tucson facility. As a young engineer, he helped build the multiplier and filter for the Syncom satellite. After 17 years of living in the desert, Bob and Josette packed up the car and moved north to Bainbridge Island.

Staying extremely sharp to the very end, Bob was a life-long HAM radio operator, and made many friends throughout the US and around the world with his call letters W6SWE and later N7XY. Bob’s brilliant mind stayed alive and active his entire life and before he passed, he had the latest iPhone, Apple Watch, at least 7 computers, and a ton of Ham Radio equipment. He loved learning, and his interests included bible study, watching foreign TV shows and movies, reading mystery novels, online shopping and traveling with Josette throughout the world. He was a wonderful father, a great friend to so many and truly a living example of kindness and decency.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Bob’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Bainbridge Island Amateur Radio Club.

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