Thomas L. Neilson

July 28, 1924October 21, 2013

Thomas (Tom) L. Neilson, 89, retired U.S. Navy Captain, died Monday, October 21, 2013. Tom was born July 28, 1924, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised in Evanston, WY, by his parents Robert and Lucy Porter Neilson.

Tom joined the Navy after graduation from Evanston High School, and had a distinguished naval career spanning almost three decades. As a naval aviator in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam, he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, seven air medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Capt. Neilson received his Ph.D. from American University, graduated from National War College, Naval War College, the State Department Foreign Institute, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He also represented the Navy on the National Security Council during the Nixon administration. Following retirement from the Navy in 1970, he obtained his J.D. from Florida State University, and had a successful law practice in Tallahassee and Panama City for 25 years. Tom loved the ocean and some of his children's earliest memories are sitting beside him fishing. He credited his strong Christian values to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He believed family came first and was adored by his grandchildren. He taught the importance of life-long learning and, by his example, showed that with hard work, dreams can become reality.

Tom is survived by his wife, Elisabeth (Leigh); two sons, Thomas (wife Andrea) and Kevin; six daughters, Diane Weldin, Linda Biedermann (husband Charles), Aleta Neilson, Ada Neilson, Beth Ray (husband Jess), Erin Toole (husband Dana). He also leaves behind 15 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.


  • Graveside Service Friday, October 25, 2013

Thomas L. Neilson

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A.A.'Grace of a Bird' Neilson

June 22, 2016

Dear Daddy Tom, Still love You so much forever. It was a joy to see you alive in my dreams on Father's Day. I love You, Daddy. Bless your Soul, Love always, 'Your 'Grace of a Bird'

AA Neilson

January 18, 2015

See You Again -- A Song for You Daddy. Just as you promised me too, I Love You Forever.

Ada Neilson

October 24, 2014

My condolences to Leigh, Dads true lifepartner and wife. What a terrible loss for all of us. Dad your wisdom and all the sayings you had stay with me. Love to you all. It has been a year now. Ada

A. A. Neilson

June 24, 2014

i miss You Daddy. i see You in my dreams. i will hope i see You in Heaven. i Love You forever. Love, your 'Grace of a Bird'

Bonita Barkley

November 15, 2013

I'm so sorry to hear this. I didn't know he passed away. I'm sorry Leigh, I didn't know. I was wondering what happened with you guys. I'm grateful for the opportunity to meet you guys. He was a great man and very humorous. A great man.

A. A. Neilson

November 8, 2013

I know now Daddy. I found out by myself. I know your Spirit tried to reach me in my dreams.
I am here now Daddy.
I Love you forever Daddy.

Robert Wright

October 28, 2013

Always a gentleman, they don't make'm like that any more

Sherry Bryan Kunz

October 25, 2013

You were always the one we liked to watch land the planes when we were young so I guess you are finally back in the sky.

Robert Bryan

October 25, 2013

You will be missed but you have had family and friends waiting to greet you on the other side. Here is to great reunions. We live you Leigh. Our prayers are with you.

Mike/Jane Adams

October 25, 2013

Tom helped my wife and me at a time we needed it...he was great.