Richard W. Nielsen “Rick” was born in Rochester, Minnesota on January 15, 1944, the first son of Wendell Lorenzo and Janet Keeney Nielsen.
His early childhood was spent in Lima, Peru where his father worked as a physician. After several years the family relocated to Idaho where Rick graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1962. He later enrolled at the University of Utah where he graduated with honors in Biology.
On June 10, 1967 he married the love of his life, Maralyn Jensen Nielsen. They were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on May 12, 2009. Rick attended Creighton Medical School and completed a residency in Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Utah. After completing his medical training he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served for two years in Frankfurt, Germany. After his military service he settled in Salt Lake City where he joined the Ear, Nose and Throat Center as a partner.
Rick was a practicing physician in the Salt Lake Valley for over 40 years. He was loved and respected by his patients and colleagues. His love of humanitarian work took him all over the world. He served the people of Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Philippines, India and Nepal.
He will be remembered for his infectious laugh, positive attitude, passion for service, and love of skiing. He was an avid reader and had the amazing ability to recall information. He was a conversationalist and amazing story teller. His greatest passion, outside of his family, was traveling the world in search of the perfect powder run. His greatest quality was his good nature, generous spirit, and ability to find the good in all situations.
Rick’s greatest source of pride and joy were his three adoring grandchildren; Emma, Ben and Isabelle. They were the light of his life. He taught each of them how to ski and never missed an athletic event, recital, play, dance performance or graduation. He was the ultimate grandpa! We love you always and forever.
Rick was preceded in death by his wife, Maralyn and son, Jason. He is survived by his son, Christian (Elizabeth); sisters Suzy and Johanna, brother Robert; three special and beloved grandchildren; Emma Jane, Benjamin and Isabelle.
We are forever grateful to Dr. Fred Gottlieb of the University of Utah for not only being Rick’s physician but dear friend.
Our family would also like to extend our appreciation to the Staff of Spring Gardens Senior Living for the loving care they provided Rick.
VIEWING: Friday, November 11, 2022 6:00-8:00 p.m. Federal Heights Meeting House, 1300 East Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City.
FUNERAL SERVICE: Saturday, November 12, 2022 10:30 a.m. Federal Heights Meeting House, 1300 East Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Huntsman Cancer Institute in memory of Richard W. Nielsen.
For those wishing to virtually attend services through zoom please click the "Watch Services" button above or the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85902048143
Rick and I (and wives and small children) spent a year together in California as first year general surgery residents in 1972-73. We would visit at Christmas ski trips to Utah. But we really reconnected on a heliski adventure to the Ruby Mountains in the mid eighties when we could begin to afford such a trip. I’d never seen Rick more happy. We did many subsequent low-cost ski road trips to Canada and off-piste adventures on glaciers in Austria,France and Italy. Rick was a strong and graceful skier.
Around 15 years ago Rick and group of docs were enjoying a blinding deep powder storm at Alta when late in the day Rick skied into a “firm” snowbank. Later, a finger on his right hand looked a bit off kilter and our beer-infused, apres-ski medical committee tried to pull and stretch the finger back in place. No luck. Rick underwent emergency surgery that night, pinning fractured digit bones back in alignment. Over the next six weeks Rick had to operate with only his left hand. Maralyn blamed me for leading Rick astray but Rick never complained and only pointed out that it was a chance to use the hands of young ENT university resident surgeons and teach them the tricks of his surgical trade. (She eventually forgave me …and the beer.)
Rick never complained but I could feel how these last few years were a terrible struggle.
But on our annual visit and during many phone calls, Rick was always upbeat and inquisitive. “What are you up to?”
Thinking bout you Rick. We shared some of the best of times. Time to rest those legs.
I am saddened by Rick’s passing. I so enjoyed his company on our ski trips in France. My condolences to all his friends and family.
Robert S Salamon MD
Such an amazing and cool dad and grandpa. Loved that I got to host him for dinner during summer ski camp. We know y’all will miss him. Sending love to you guys!
I have so many fond memories of Rick especially the time we spent together on the slopes all over the world in France, Canada, and the USA. The many times we boarded a helicopter to reach untracked snow. Although Rick is gone he will always be with me whenever I begin down the Piste. He is now skiing untracked powder on every turn.
When I learned of Rick's passing, my mind was immediately flooded with fun and positive memories. I met Rick many years ago when I became Maralyn's roommate behind the Capitol in Salt Lake City. We all immediately connected because of our roots in Idaho. Rick and some of his buddies would often come and hang out (he had an MG convertible which fit him). Some of his friends I recall were Steve, Mike, and Cranney. Years passed and we all moved on but somehow we managed to keep in touch. Maralyn and I tended each others kids. When I was a single working mom and Rick was a medical resident at the University of Utah, he would come to my house in the evening to check on my sick kids, make a diagnosis, write a prescription, and then tend Tracy and Eric while I went to pick up the medicine. He was always thoughtful, considerate and kind. Rick, Maralyn, Christian and Jason were like family to us -- my kids still refer to him as "Uncle Rick".
Rick was always fun to be around and could make you laugh no matter the situation. Even the last little while, while he was in the care center, I talked with him a couple times and we ended up reminiscing and laughing. He had an amazing memory and so many interesting stories to tell!
I will forever treasure my friendship with Rick and Maralyn and I find comfort in knowing they are now together.
I am so sorry for your loss. Rick was always so kind to me and my family.
"Rick" a/k/a "Uncle Rick" in our family. Rick was a man for all seasons, he was kind to everyone, no matter the situation or status in life. I, personally held Rick in high esteem for his knowledge about "everything". There wasn't a topic of conversation that he didn't know about and he would teach in his way of having the conversation. Rick will be missed by everyone that knew him with his sense of humor and willingness to tease and make a fun time for everyone...especially, at times, Maralyn. The world was a better place with Richard W. Nielsen in it. I've never known anyone equal to the man.