Karl Joseph Nielson, age 95, passed away peacefully on October 25, 2023. Karl was born on January 4, 1928, in Mesa, AZ to Dr. Hyrum Joseph Nielson and Emma Grace Rogers Nielson.
Karl’s life was exceptional. At age 15, Karl enlisted in the United States Navy where he served in WWII as a Naval Gunner on the Battleship USS California. After the war, Karl attended Mesa High School where he played football for the Mesa High Jackrabbits. During that time, Karl met the love of his life, Georgia Mae Blevins. In 1949, Karl and Georgia married, started a family, and celebrated 73 years of marriage together.
In 1947, Karl opened Bakepaint Body Shop in Phoenix, and later opened a second location in Cave Creek. His success led to the creation of many other businesses including Priceless Corporation, Best Auto Parts, and Multi-Unit Apartments. Along the way, Karl returned to college and received a degree from Mesa Community College.
Karl was an amazing athlete, outdoorsman, and pilot. He excelled in Fast Pitch Softball where he pitched 58 no-hitters and served as President of the International Softball Congress. Karl was later inducted into 3 Halls of Fame: Mesa, Prescott, and Wisconsin. Karl was also an avid golfer. He was a member of Mesa Country Club for more than 50 years, and White Mountain Country Club in Pinetop AZ where he served as President. He was also a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Karl loved giving back to the community. Karl was a member of the LDS church. Later in life, Karl and Georgia served in the Papago Ward for 17 years. Karl was also a member of the Mesa Hohokam’s for 43 years.
Karl loved his family and friends, making everyone around him feel loved and special. Karl met every challenge in life with optimism and humor. He was kind, loving, and generous.
Karl was preceded in death by his wife, Georgia, parents Hyrum and Emma, brothers Wayne, Clyde, and Douglas, and sisters Norma and Helen. Karl is survived by his seven children; Georgine Nielson, Kirk Nielson (Deneen), Dr. Karla Carlson, Sherrie Coker (Randy), Craig Nielson, Kent Nielson (Barbara), and Keith Nielson. Karl was blessed with 17 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
A viewing with a family greeting will be held Thursday, November 2nd, 2023, at Bunkers Mortuary, 33 N Centennial Way in Mesa from 5 to 7 p.m. A military burial will take place graveside on Friday, November 3rd, 2023, at Mesa Cemetery at 10 a.m.