Christopher E. Nielsen ’75
Christopher Eric Nielsen beloved father, grandfather, brother and friend transitioned to his heavenly art studio on Saturday, July 16, 2022 surrounded by his loving family.
Chris was born Feb. 27, 1953 in Portland to Christian and Arlene (Willey) Nielsen. Chris graduated from Deering High School in 1971. He was a Senior Ship’s Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine graduating from Maine Maritime Academy in 1975.
Chris will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by all who received his kindness, generosity, sense of humor, and most importantly his love.
Chris’ first and lifelong passion was his art. Showing talent from a very young age, Chris was the youngest exhibitor at the Sidewalk Art Show in Portland at the age of 16. This was one of many lifelong accomplishments. Delighting in and inspired by the abundance and beauty of the natural world, especially its floral and marine splendor, Chris never ceased to work tirelessly to capture nature’s essence in his paintings of landscapes and seascapes. The fact that these works are so appreciated and admired from coast to coast can be witnessed in their presence in so many major and private collections. Walking around greater Portland his work is hard to miss and widely celebrated. His proudest accomplishment was having one of his masterpieces, Gale Warning, selected for the cover of the March 1979 Downeast Magazine.
In 1976 Chris married Susan Hunnewell who later became his best friend. In 1986 they welcomed their first child and as the family grew his masterpieces became his children. As his fame grew, his relationship with art took on a new meaning as it was an additional way to support his family. His passion for art never ceased.
Affectionately called “Grampy” by his two beautiful granddaughters, he encouraged them to be creative and told them “It’s OK to color outside the lines.” His signature signoff was “See you later alligator, in a while crocodile, see you soon, you big baboon”.
Chris’ other passions included: history especially WWII, a lifelong fan of baseball and the New York Yankees. He was also an insatiable reader and learner. Chris enjoyed modeling in his younger years, all things Porsche and had a fierce pride of his Danish heritage. Baking was another passion of Chris’. Following in his father’s footsteps he continued the tradition of baking mouthwatering pies and other treats. Chris’ creativity extended into all aspects of his life. Adorning the surroundings of the home where he raised his family he created miles of dry laid stone walls.
In his youth Chris spent a lot of time at the family camp on Little Sebago Lake in Gray. He especially enjoyed laughing and spending time with his brothers reliving episodes of the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy.
Chris was predeceased by his son Evan Alexander Nielsen; and his sister, Kären Macmaster.
Chris is survived by his three children Anna, Hans and Kyle Nielsen; his brother, Karl and wife Eleanor, brother-in-law, Bruce Macmaster, Peter and wife Nancy, Kurt and wife Liz Monaghan, Leif and wife Jayne, Erik and wife Kirsten; mother of his children, Susan; and his grandchildren Lily and Emma Conway; numerous nieces and nephews; friends and admirers of his art work.
Chris’ family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Maine Medical Center and the nurses at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House where he received the most loving and companionate care.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.