106-year-old has television spotlight
Sabrina Bates, News Editor
After six years of trying to snag a feature on NBC’s Today Show, Nielson’s grandson, Paul, confirmed the call came in over the weekend and the Martin woman was spotlighted today on the national television show.
According to Paul, his grandmother is still just as active as when The Press interviewed her right before she turned 105 in June of last year.
She has held true to keeping her mind sharp as she reads about one novel each week and her favorite newspaper every day.
Nielsen is a native of Chicago and four years ago became a resident of Greenbrier Meadows in Martin.
When talking with The Press, she often laughed about how “young” she looked and how she’ll let us know when she gets lots of wrinkles.
In 2007, Nielsen was the most “mature” person to take computer courses at Greenbrier Meadows offered through the University of Tennessee at Martin under the guidance of Larry Holder.
At age 104, she took the computer courses in stride commenting that no one was ever too old to stop learning new things.
Nielson was born in Chicago, Ill., the only child, to a mother from Iowa and a father from Allborg, Denmark. She weighed two pounds at birth and spent the first days of her life in an incubator.
She attended schools at such places as Nobel and D.R. Cameron. Nielson learned to speak Danish and English.
She studied piano for three years under the creator of Ziegfeld Follies, Dr. Ziegfeld.
Nielsen’s first job was to sew the lining into ladies’ hats and fedoras. She admitted she got tired of the job after only three weeks.
She married Henry Nielson and the couple had a son, Ronald. When Ronald was in his early high school years, Nielsen’s husband decided to pack the family up and move to Tennessee.
Nielsen and her husband spent several years traveling to many cities across the United States, Denmark and Canada. She only outlived her husband by a few years, but now Nielsen has several family members in Weakley County.
Her son, Ronald has two children, Paul Nielsen and Mary Ellen Stooksberry.
Paul had three boys and Mary Ellen had two boys and two girls.