Robert Manning Nielsen

Nov. 3, 1943 - Sep. 27, 2021

Date of Service: Oct. 4, 2021

Robert Manning Nielsen

RUPERT - Robert Manning Nielsen, a lifelong resident of the Paul and Rupert area, passed away surrounded by his family on the morning of Monday, September 27, 2021.

“Bob” was born on November 3, 1943, to Blain Malcolm and Ida Eliza Manning Nielsen in Paul, Idaho. He was the sixth child of Blain and Ida, following his older siblings, Ronald, Coleen, Margaret, and a set of twin girls, Edith and Ethyl, and preceding his younger sister, Marilyn, and brother, Richard. As a boy, Bob was a big help to his siblings and parents on the Nielsen family farm and feedlot, but if anyone had a mischievous spirit and grin, it was Bob. Whether he was blowing out tires and radiators while racing Ron’s tractors, or conning Marilyn into licking metal mailboxes in the winter, Bob was always thinking of a prank he could play on family and friends. Bob’s hard work didn’t stop on the farm; he excelled both academically and athletically at Minidoka County High School. He was elected Senior Class President in 1961, and loved being on Spartan baseball, basketball, and football teams during his career. He especially enjoyed playing on teams with his cousin, Bill Manning, and after college, loved playing on rec league teams with Bill and his brother, Rich. Bob would talk about how when Rich was young, Bob would push and bully him to play basketball. After four years away in the Naval Academy, Bob came back to Paul to see that Rich was now much bigger and taller than Bob, eager to compete with and against Bob in multiple sports and wouldn’t be bullied and pushed up against the milk barn anymore!

Bob’s success led him to an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1962. At the Academy, he was appointed a Company Commander, selected as the top Marine Corps recruit in his class, and to round out his accomplishments, he was elected as “Social Chairman” for his class. He toured the Mediterranean Sea with the Spanish Navy, sailed on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Shangri-La, and marched in funerals for both President John F. Kennedy and General Douglas MacArthur. He also boxed competitively in over 100 academy matches while earning his degree in Marine Engineering. His pride as a United States Naval officer was dampened when his poor hearing and multiple knee injuries prohibited Bob from serving with his fellow Midshipmen in the Vietnam War. It was difficult news for Bob, so after getting his degree, he worked for General Electric along the East Coast for a year.

Bob stayed in touch with an older Midshipman from Wyoming, followed his advice, and applied to the University of Wyoming Law School in 1967. Bob’s goal was to be a successful attorney, yet still be close to his roots and help Blaine, Ron, and the rest of the family on the farm. He met Cara Keefe, a Cheyenne native and Wyoming student, and they were married in November 1968. He received his Juris Doctor in June 1969, and with Cara, chose to move back to Paul to start his law career. In his early years, Bob was elected Minidoka County Prosecuting Attorney, then along with Roger Ling, the two began a law partnership that lasted nearly 30 years, which subsequently added Brent Robinson as partner. Bob started his own law practice in 2000 and continued serving the community until his death. He especially enjoyed mentoring and partnering with dozens of young attorneys who eventually became admired and respected lawyers and judges. He was very proud of his most recent partnership with Matt Frost, and really thought of Matt as a son.

Bob and Cara built their home west of Paul and started their family. With Bob practicing successfully, and Cara working as a speech pathologist and teacher, they had three children: Robert Erik (born 1971), Christopher Blain (1973), and Ida Sara (1976). Bob loved to watch each of his kids participate in school activities, summer and school sports, dance and gymnastics competitions, and spending time at the family cabin in Ketchum, Idaho. Winter included skiing at Sun Valley and Pomerelle with friends and their families, while summers included golf at the Rupert Country Club, golf trips with friends, fishing trips to Alaska and throughout Idaho, and pheasant and goose hunting with Rich and many friends. Bob loved to entertain, so he learned to play guitar and sing songs to the family on snowy winter nights at the cabin. Bob brought his “Social Chairman” connections to Paul, where he and Cara loved to host parties with Bob’s wild hat collection, Motown hits, and comical dance moves. Later, Bob and Cara moved to their home closer to Rupert. While he mellowed as he got older, Bob continued to live adventurously through Erik, Chris, and Sara, and his grandchildren. Bob spoke fondly of his Naval Academy days, engaged in countless hands of gin rummy, loved grilling and cooking, tended his rose and vegetable gardens, and was willing to bet anyone on any game (as long as he received more points than the spread), and cheered for the Midshipmen, both the Wyoming and Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Yankees.

Bob’s civic involvement included youth sports, Elks, and the Rupert Country Club. He coached Erik and Chris’ multiple teams and heroically attended over a decade of Sara’s “Nutcracker” performances. He was President of the Rupert Country Club, shared his love of golf with his family, and continued his law practice with recent recognition by the Idaho State Bar for 50 years of dedicated service. Bob served with astronauts, war heroes, and the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, but his greatest honor continued to be serving the people of the Mini-Cassia area.

Bob is survived by his former wife, Cara; his three children and their spouses, Erik (Melissa), Chris (Alicia), and Sara (Scott Erling). The greatest accomplishments of his life were his three children and his grandchildren. Bob loved his six grandchildren immensely and was proud of each of their academic endeavors and activities, Brandon, Michael, Andrew, Emma, Marc, and Elle. Bob is also survived by his sisters, Margaret Duff and Marilyn Swensen. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Ronald and Richard; and his sisters, Coleen Boulter and Edith and Ethyl.

The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 4, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, 1350 East 16th Street, in Burley. Burial will immediately follow at Paul Cemetery with military rites provided by the Mini-Cassia Veterans Group. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Rupert Elks Lodge after the burial.

A private family viewing will be held from 10:30-11:45 a.m. on Monday, October 4, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, preceding the funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bob Nielsen’s memory to the Rupert Elks lodge. This designated fund will go towards the needs of our youth in the Mini-Cassia area.

A live webcast of the Funeral Service will be available and maintained at the following link: https://youtu.be/rjzlD6MFdv8.