Gale "Peter" G. Neilsen
May 16, 1928 – February 1, 2019
Gale G. "Peter" Neilsen of Old Lyme, CT, born May 16, 1928 in Norwalk, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on February 1, 2019. Son of Charles Edward Neilsen and Mildred Burtis Neilsen of Westport CT, he graduated from Staples High School in Westport. He enlisted in the US Navy on his 17th birthday, serving proudly as a Medic in World War II. After the war Peter attended Bridgeport University. On October 22, 1949 he married the love of his life, Ann Davis of Rowayton, with whom he had four daughters. He remained a loving and greatly loved family man. He became a residential builder in Fairfield County. Over the following years he built homes, condominiums and commercial buildings with the Barnett Development Corporation in New Haven County. He established Madison Realty Associates, McCutcheon, Burr & Neilsen and Beacon Construction, and co-owned the historic Monroe Building in Madison. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce and served as President of the Clinton Rotary. Peter served Essex Savings Bank for 30 years. He was named a Trustee in 1968 and a Director in 1982. As a member of the Real Estate Committee, he won praise for his role in helping the bank to successfully navigate the tumultuous savings & loan crisis of the 1980’s and 1990’s, a time when nearly one-third of US savings & loan institutions collapsed. In 1996 he was named Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors until his retirement in 1998 when Peter and Ann moved to a family vacation home in New Hampshire.
Peter loved music. As a boy, he was a soloist in churches and on the radio. He continued to sing all his life with his family at the piano at home or joining in with singers in local venues. He enjoyed opera and was an enthusiastic boater and a history buff. In later years, he wrote an historical novel set in a New Hampshire textile mill town and he published several articles about New England life in local magazines. Peter was predeceased by his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Harry Burtis Neilsen and Shirley Mills Neilsen, and his sister, Faire´ Beverly Neilsen. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ann Davis Neilsen, married children Kimberly Neilsen Epstein (Jay), Stacy Neilsen Abbott (Don Feeley), Julia Neilsen Belliveau (Paul), Jane Neilsen Davidson (Gary), eleven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 AM, February 23rd at Swan Funeral Home in Madison, CT. For details please visit www.swanfuneralhomemadison.com. Those wishing to make donations in lieu of flowers should send them to Old Lyme Fire Department, Old Lyme Fire Department P.O. Box 102 Old Lyme, CT 06371