Floraine Nielsen was called home to her Lord and family on Friday, February 28, 2014. She was the last living member of Charles and Lydia Nielsen family. The third of six children, she was born November 22, 1922 at home on the farm outside Aberdeen, Idaho. Her life was dedicated to music and music education at many levels.
Floraine’s career as an accomplished pianist began when playing for Sunday School at Bethany Baptist Church in American Falls while in the 6th grade. This endeavor continued until about 2 years before her death for a total of 80 years.
Floraine’s education continued after graduation from Aberdeen High School in 1940. From there she began her college education at University of Idaho, Southern Branch, Pocatello from 1940-1942 followed by summer school in Moscow. She continued her education at BIOLA (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) from 1944-1947. Floraine completed her Bachelor of Music Education Degree at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma from 1951-1953. Floraine obtained her Masters of Arts at Columbia Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, New York in 1955. She returned home between schools to teach and earn money to pursue her advanced education.
Floraine continued her educational endeavors for the next 20 years. In 1963-64 she attended a comparative study in Music Education sponsored by University of Oregon in Germany, France, Austria, Holland, England, and Switzerland. From this opportunity she co-authored an educational text Music Fundamentals, A Creative Activities Approach. She returned to Europe 8 years later to further develop this project.
Floraine’s professional teaching experience began teaching elementary grades in Blackfoot and American Falls. She moved on to music at the high school level just prior to completing her Masters Degree. Her first collegiate teaching experience was at Spellman College, Atlanta, Georgia where she taught music theory and piano.
Floraine completed her teaching career spending 31 years at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. She was Associate Professor of Music teaching Methods of teaching Elementary Music, Keyboard, Theory, and Piano. She also supervised student teachers in the University Laboratory School. She chaired the Department of Music for 1 year.
Since her retirement, Floraine has remained active at Willow Bay Baptist Church continuing as pianist. Her extended family was very important to her and she maintained communication with all by letter, e-mail, and Facebook. She is survived by 13 nieces and nephews who felt privileged to have her part of their lives.
Services will be at Willow Bay Baptist Church in American Falls on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 10:30 am. Interment will be at Fallsview Cemetery in American Falls. In lieu of flowers you may make a donation to Wounded Veterans, Billy Graham, your personal church, or food pantry of your choice.