Esther M. Nielson

Esther M. Nielson, 89, of Mount Vernon, formerly from Bourbonnais, Illinois, passed away Saturday, July 28, 2018.

Esther was born in Laingsburg, Michigan, on Oct. 28, 1928, the daughter of Carl and Neva Morse and the oldest of eight children.

In 1947, Esther married Dr. Joseph Nielson, who died April 11, 2018 and in June, they would have been married 70 years. Surviving are a daughter, Becky, and son-in-law, David Erwin, of Fort Myers, Florida, and a son, Mark, and daughter-in-law, Joan Nielson, of Mount Vernon, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Esther also has seven siblings: Evelyn Sugar, Elsie Morse (deceased) Norma Craig, Charles and Richard Morse, Mary Castro and Margaret Darby.

Esther graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a bachelor and master’s degree in education. She was a pastor’s wife for 22 years, directing the music and leading the children’s ministries in the churches her husband pastored. She was Children’s Ministry Director at College Church of the Nazarene in Bourbonnais, Illinois, for 15 years and taught in the Kankakee Public Schools for 25 years.

She also was a liaison from Olivet Nazarene University to the Kankakee Public Schools, placing student teachers. Following retirement, she moved to Mt. Vernon, where she supervised student teachers for Mount Vernon Nazarene University and volunteered at Knox community hospital for 10 years. She was a member of Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene and volunteered in children’s’ ministries.

A memorial service for Esther will be held at Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene on Monday, Aug. 6, at 10 a.m. The service will be shown live on the Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene Facebook page. Visiting hours will be from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and burial will take place at Mound View Cemetery, 307 Wooster Rd. Mt. Vernon.

In lieu of flowers, people may contribute to the Joseph Nielson Scholarship Fund at Olivet Nazarene University, 1 University Blvd, Bourbonnais, Illinois, 60914 or to the music department at Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene in Mt. Vernon.

To send the family a condolence online visit:

The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Esther M. Nielson.

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