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Welcome to the memorial page for

Kathryn A. Nielsen

December 14, 1945 ~ May 24, 2017 (age 71)
Kathryn Anne Grinder Nielsen, 71, passed away May 24, 2017, while in the loving care of her family at her home, in Boise, Idaho, with her sweetheart and several children by her side.
Kathy was born Dec 14, 1945, in Jacksonville, Florida, the oldest daughter of George and Mayona (McCarthy) Grinder. At a young age, she and her family converted to the LDS church and she was a devoted member her entire life. Her family was always on the move, as her dad was a member of the military. They moved up the east coast, then to the west, where she ended up, and graduated from high school, in Anchorage, Alaska in 1964.
It was in Anchorage, where one day in church, Dennis Orr Nielsen spotted her beautiful, bright red hair and decided he could not bear to leave her side for the rest of eternity. They wanted to marry in the LDS temple, but because Kathy was just 19, it was illegal to take her across the state line, so they were married on June 30, 1965 in Anchorage, making her “legally his,” and left immediately for Salt Lake City, Utah, where they were sealed for eternity in that beautiful temple, two days later.
Their first child, Amelia, was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. Then Mayona was born in Logan, Utah. Their last four children Matthew, Pamela and Joseph (twins), and Karena were born when they finally settled in Boise, Idaho. That is where Dennis worked for LDS Family Services. Her sweet, smart, loving husband was a great source of pride for her. She always shared with people what he did, and how much she admired him. She loved to tell people she was born in Florida, met her love in Alaska, and settled in Idaho.
Over the years, as a full-time mom, she started a cleaning business to pay for her kids to have braces. She was always willing to do extra things to allow her kids to do extra activities. She also served as a cub scout leader and a girl scout leader, as her health allowed.
Our family almost lost Kathy to kidney failure 11 years ago. She survived and got a transplant which lasted way past its expected expiration, and was still going strong. We feel we have had many years of her living a healthy life on “borrowed time” for which we are so grateful. Over the years, she has been able to cook with each one of her grandchildren, making cookies, pies, cobblers and cakes. They each have the fondest memories of those times, and we count that as God’s gift to them. Kathy was well known for her witty responses and one-liners. Our family will be forever laughing at the hilarious things that she used to say.
Despite her health problems, she and Dennis were called to, and served in, a Service Mission for the LDS Church, running the Addiction Recovery Program, where they served two consecutive missions over a five-year period.
Kathy was a devout believer of education and instilled in each of her children that there was nothing more important. She was a life-long learner, always reading and searching at the library (and later the internet) for interesting information. Because of this belief, she has donated her body to science, to be studied and help people learn about anatomy and disease. She has always taught others to “learn as much as you can. It’s all you take with you.” She enjoyed watching nature, especially birds and has always had the most hummingbird feeders in the neighborhood. It was a particular joy to her to make it through this last spring, watching her birds come back one last time.
The family would like to express its deepest love and appreciation for Horizon Home Health and Hospice, especially Ashley, her CNA who she grew to love deeply. Your tender care was exceptional and greatly appreciated.
Kathy is predeceased by her parents and her brother George “Hank” Grinder. She is survived by her sweetheart, Dennis Orr Nielsen, and their 6 children: Amelia Artist of Killeen, TX; Mayona (Brian) Green of Boise, ID; Matthew (Miriam) Nielsen of Gilbert, AZ; Pamela (Daniel) Wilcox of Boise, ID; Joseph (Virginia) Nielsen of Marysville, WA; Karena Drewien of Boise, ID; her sisters Evelyn Halstead, Mayona Sue Brown, and Elsie Jane Pollard; 22 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, and many loving nieces and nephews.
There will be a memorial service on Monday, May 29, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS chapel located at 3020 Cherry Lane in Boise. The family will have a meet and greet for friends from 10 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. at the church prior to the services. Her remains have been sent to the University of Utah Medical Center, so no viewing will be held. In lieu of flowers, Kathy requested that donations be sent to the LDS Church Perpetual Education Fund at

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