"I've had two great teachers in my life. First, my maternal grandmother, Mary Coffin, who taught my sister and me what she believed every woman should know: how to manage a house and garden and how to sew, embroider and cook. She saw to it daily that my sister and I did our homework, practiced piano and did our simple chores. No whining. No complaining. We did our best every day. Not tomorrow, but today.
"My second great teacher was Arthur Nielsen, whom I met at age sixteen. We were in the same class and became high school sweethearts. We were married in 1918 when Arthur graduated summa cum laude in electical engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He served as a naval officer in World War I and started the A.C. Nielsen Company in 1923. We moved from Berwyn, where I was born and he had lived for fifteen years, to Winnetka. We had heard of the excellent schools there and wanted the best for our children.
"My two role models were of strong character with great integrity and extraordinary abilities. Both were optimists, organizers and problem solvers. These two set the pattern for my life. During the years our five children were growing up, I busied myself with household affairs. My activities outside the home included PTA, school events, scouting, church, League of Women Voters, Winnetka Woman's Club and garden clubs."
About Gertrude B. Nielsen
Gertrude Nielsen led a full life, inspiring many and bringing beauty to the world. Her love of children and flowers is reflected in her contributions, including the Gertrude B. Nielsen Child Care and Learning Center in Northbrook and the Gertrude B. Nielsen Heritage Garden at the Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe. Gertrude Nielsen was admired by all and loved for her generosity, warmth and compassion.
The Nielsen Family articles were written by Charlie Schaaf and Chris and Laurie Nielsen