Roy Nielsen

Roy Nielsen was Blaise's maternal grandfather.

table of contents

1916-1933 childhood

Born October 26 1916. At that time family lived in San Francisco CA.

Roy's family prior to WWI in San Fransisco.

Campo Seco

During WWI the family moved to Campo Seco CA where Yens worked the copper mine. They lived in tents.

Tents for miners in Campo Seco.


1918 WWI ends. Family moves to Alameda CA, living at 945 Park St.

1918. Roy and siblings with parents.
Left: Nielsen family at 945 Park St. Right: same house pictured in 2011.

16 Costa St.

1924 they move back to San Fransisco. They live at 16 Costa St. The house was on a steep hill and the horse pulling the wagon of furniture in the move could not make it up the hill. So the family had to carry their things the last three blocks home. The family owned a goat for milk and purchased fresh eggs from a neighbor who had chickens.

Costa St, San Fransisco. Picture taken sometime between 1924 and 1927.

At this time Roy's father Yens Nielsen worked a variety of odd jobs. Yens' main job was nightwatchman at the California shade and cloth factory. He also had a job training guard dogs, where he played the role of "bad guy to be subdued".

One of Yens' shirts which had been damaged by dog training.

The entire family would go to the Russian River camp spot on public transportation to vacation. Sunday afternoon Jens would return to SF to work the week and then return the next weekend, etc. They may have stayed at the river multiple weeks each summer.

The Nielsen children play at Russian River. Right to left Hubert, Ingeborg, Roy.

Church Caretaker

In 1927 the family moved to the Swedish Baptist Church in San Fransisco. It was here that Roy and Inge became believers during services by a visiting evangelist T. Gideon Solandar. The family cared for the church together and lived in an apartment above the church.

The Swedish Baptist Church where the Nielsens lived and worked. Photo taken later in 1973.

death of parents

Jens' died suddenly in January 1930. In response to what was thought to be a ruptured stomach ulcer a friend, Mr. Smith, drove Jens, in his Dodge touring car, from the church to UCSF. UCSF denied him care as he was too poor. From there Mr. Smith drove Jens to the SF County Hospital. There they operated on Jens and he died the next day. Hubert remembered that they visited briefly with Jens just before he died. The pastor told them to tell Jens they would see him in glory but they refused.

Their uncle Hans helped them care for a church for a while after Jens died. Six months after Jens' death the mother Sophie began hemorrhaging and was hospitalized and put into a nursing home. During this time Ingeborg lived with a family in Oakland who were relatives of Dwayne Nelson and Hubert and Roy lived with two families in San Fransisco. They slept in the basement of the Olsens and ate next door with the Holmlunds. Arnie was already living in a boarding house in Berkeley.

On August 27 1931 Sophie was well enough to come home. They rented an inexpensive flat on Anderson St. However the very day she came home the hemorrhaging began again. She was taken to the County Hospital where she died the next day. The family was able to experience home together for only one day. According to Arne they barely managed to pay for Sophie's funeral.

Jens, Sophie, and Rolph are buried at Cypress Lawn cemetery, San Fransisco.

Nielsen family tombstone at Cypress Lawn.


Roy and siblings after they had been adopted by the Anderson family

1933-1941 college

Begins college UC Berkley fall 1935. Finished in 1939 with BA in Geology. Went back in 1940 for graduate degree in Library Science.

Roy college years.
Roy in Alaska age 19.
Roy on boat with friends.

1941-1943 marriage

Roy and Betty are married.
Roy photos of homes in San Fransisco.
Roy the actor.
Roy looking down onto Berkeley from his work at the Lawrence Radiation Lab -as head librarian.

Roy worked as a special librarian for a variety of government agencies. He worked for the state at the Ferry Bldg, for the Navy and the Army and then for the US Department of Defense at what was then known as the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley. One of his most famous customers was Luis Alvarez who was designated as a Nobel Laureate in 1968. Partially due to Roy’s excellent librarian skills.

1943-1968 children

Roy, Betty, Nancy, and Jim at 638 Viona in Oakland.
Roy at Campo Seco.

1968-1982 empty nest

1982-1991 retirement

Roy on a cruise in Greece, 1986.

1991 death

Died December 11 1991

Memorial at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.

life themes

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