When we received the news from Don Nielsen ’75 that his mother, Eloise Nielsen P ’73, ’75, ’76 (Physical Education, 1966-1982), passed away, there had been several very tragic days close together at Harley; with news of the losses of Dick Chapman (Physical Education 1958-1966 and 1967-1982) and Joy Moss (Lower School Library, 1969-2015 earlier that weekend. He commented it was “fitting” that she and Dick died one day apart, having worked together for so many years. Eloise lived out in California and the folks at Harley communicated with her annually, sending her updates on the recipients of the Christiaan Nielsen ’76 Scholarship, an award created by Chris’ classmates after his untimely death. She always enjoyed reading updates from Harley’s Becoming Magazine.
Here are messages from former students and alumni in remembrance of Eloise:
Pam Stoffel (English, 1973-82, Drama, 1989-1996): Thank you, Karen, for passing along this news. Eloise, Dick, and Joy were such pillars of the Harley community during their tenures. In my mind’s eye I still see them and hear them walking the halls they loved so dearly. They will be missed by all who knew them.
Scott Reisinger (History 1980-87, Director of Admissions, 1983-1987): What a terrible week. All three of these wonderful folks were on the Harley faculty when I was there in the 1980s, and I remember them so well. I am very sorry for Harley’s loss…the world does not replace Dick, Joy, or Eloise easily….
John Vaughan ’69: Thank you for the news, however sad, about the deaths of Coaches Chapman and Nielsen. They were both at Harley during my years there in the 1960s, and I remember them well. I also note the remarkable coincidence(s) that they both left Harley in 1982 after many years at the school, and that they died on almost the same date in 2021.
Jonathan Cherr ’80: Thanks for letting us know about Eloise and Dick Chapman, Karen. Sad news indeed.
Lydia Zartman: I am so sorry to hear this—I knew Mrs. Nielsen first at Brick Presbyterian and then at Harley. She was always so kind.
Jan Costello ’68: I remember Mrs Nielsen very well from my Harley years (1965-68). She was unfailingly kind and encouraging to me—an unathletic, asthmatic girl who just barely passed the minimum physical education requirements established by President Kennedy!
Amanda Morrice McBride ’87: Mrs. Nielsen was well liked! Amazing that we lost three wonderful educators from Harley this past weekend. May they all Rest In Peace.
Gale Fox ’76: A very kind lady.
Maura Allen, Lower School Art 1981-1999: She was also the mom of student and grad Chris Nielsen ’76. Same honoree of the Nielsen award. My son Jevon Allen ’92 won the award in its first year of its inception. The award was sponsored by his Harley classmates.
Eloise Hatch Nielsen, of Sacramento, California, aged 92, died in her sleep on Saturday, March 13, 2021. Eloise was born July 29, 1928, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the daughter of Charles and Elise (Turpyn) Hatch. Eloise grew up in Massachusetts and Illinois and graduated from Wellesley College in 1949. She earned her M.A. in Biblical Studies from Columbia University in New York City, where she met her late husband Charles M. Nielsen at Union Theological Seminary. In Rochester, N.Y., where she and Charles lived for 25 years and raised three children, she worked in Christian Education at Brick Presbyterian Church, and taught and coached at the Harley School for many years. Retiring with Charles to Sacramento, she threw herself into volunteer activities with the Red Cross, church, including Pioneer Congregational Church, and other organizations. Eloise was preceded in death by her husband and her youngest child, Chris. She is survived by her daughter, Fay, her son, Donald and his wife, Patricia, three grandchildren, Nicholas Nielsen, Catherine Scheller, and Alice Nielsen; and six great-grandchildren, Hannah, Charlotte and Claire Nielsen, and Avery, Beckett, and Taylor Scheller.