James Axel Nielsen, 87, of Houghton Lake passed away on Saturday December 8, 2018 at King Nursing and Rehabilitation Community.
Jim was born on July 28, 1931 in Houghton Lake, Michigan to Alexander "Chris" and Vera (Nelson) Nielsen. He grew up and attended school in Houghton Lake. Jim served as a Sgt(T) in the Army during the Korean War. He was captured between the cities of Yadam-ni and Hagaru-ri by Chinese forces during the Chosin River Reservoir Battle and spent from December 2, 1950 until August 13, 1953 as a POW. Jim owned and operated Nielsen's Standard Service Station in Houghton Lake for many years. He was married to Peggy Stegall in Houghton Lake in 1955 and she preceded Jim in death in 2006. Jim was a member of Houghton Lake VFW Post #4034 and was an avid bowler. He enjoyed dancing, watching his deer in his yard, and an occasional casino trip. Upon returning from his service in the Army the local citizens and businesses presented him with a new car as a symbol of appreciation for his service. Jim was named the Tip up Town "Hometown Hero" for 2018. On March 5, 2018 he was presented with a special tribute by Rep. Daire Rendon, on behalf of the State of Michigan, thanking him for his loyal and dutiful service to his country. He attended the Chosin Few reunion annually, which was a gathering of those who had been involved in the Chosin River Reservoir Battle from 11-27-1950 to 12-10-1950, also known as "a battle unlike any other in history". He was interviewed and appears in the documentary The Korean War-Voices from the 38th Parallel, depicting stories from the Korean War.
Surviving Mr. Nielsen are his two daughters, Barbara Van Peursem of SC, and Lisa Stajic of Houghton Lake; three sons, Steve (Sue) Nielsen of Houghton Lake, Douglas (Tanya) Nielsen of Houghton Lake, and David (Carol) Nielsen of Lake City; ten grandchildren; six great grandchildren; brother, Bob (Sharon) Nielsen of Houghton Lake; sister-in-law, Georgette Nielsen of Houghton Lake; longtime companion, Rose Markiewicz of Houghton Lake; several nieces and nephews. James was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Lillian Mason, brother, William Nielsen.
Funeral Services for James Axel Nielsen will be conducted at 11:00 am Thursday December 13, 2018 from Christler Funeral Home, Houghton Lake Chapel with Rev. Bryan Thompson officiating. Interment will be in Roscommon Township Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Wednesday December 12, 2018 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Christler Funeral Home, Houghton Lake Chapel. Memorial contributions in memory of Jim are asked to be directed to the Salvation Army. Christler Funeral Home, Houghton Lake Chapel is serving the family. Condolences can be sent to the family online at www.christler-holdship.com