Fran Nielsen

Fran Nielsen

Fran Nielsen

Iowa City

After 81 beautiful, joy-filled years of life, on Nov. 9, our beloved Franny gained her angel wings and joined her oldest son (Chris), mother, father, and brother in Heaven.

Fran was full of love and found joy in all things. She loved the Lord and life and embraced each day as a blessing. To know Fran was to know love, compassion, kindness, faithfulness, happiness, gratitude, and joy. She was a beautiful person, inside and out. Fran’s greatest joy and purpose in life was to serve the Lord through all things she did and in each interaction she had.

Some of her greatest joys included being a nurse and caring for her patients for over 49 years (33 years at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City), writing poetry, walking, swimming, playing ping pong, listening to music, laughing, hugging her children and grandchildren, playing games with family, doing artwork, and much more.

Her biggest joy and love was her family–she was a dedicated loving wife to the love of her life, Dave, and proud mother of four children: Chris (Kathy), Kim (Brian), Tom (Michelle) and Jeff (“Oh he’s so wonderful!” as Fran would say); grandchildren, Zach (Laura), Emily (Hunter), Sarah, Katie (Gunnar), Tommy (fiancé Kenna) and Josiah; great-grandchildren, Leo, and another grandbaby on the way. She and her special hugs will be deeply missed by all of us.

Dave and Fran were long-time residents of Iowa City and involved in the community for many years. Fran was an active mother and their kids were involved in many activities and sports throughout their years in Iowa City. Fran was a cancer survivor and used her experience and her faith to reach out and help other cancer survivors along their journeys. One of her most important missions was serving as a leader of a cancer survivor support group program through Parkview Church in Iowa City.

Fran, Dave, and Jeff recently relocated to their home in Florida and have been enjoying beach life and living there. Fran was an absolute joy to be around and we will miss her, her smile, her laughter, her hugs, and her love for life, family, friends, and all those she came in contact with. She was a bright light in this world, and she shined on all those around her, always lighting up the space she was in.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Iowa City this spring in May (times will be published closer to the date), a favorite time of year of Fran’s and when the flowers will be in bloom, just as Fran was—in full bloom. One of Fran’s core values was to spread love and hope through reaching out and connecting with others.

If you’d like to share and support Fran’s legacy of spreading love and hope, memorials and/or donations can be made to Lion’s Ink (, a nonprofit organization co-founded by her oldest son, Chris, and his wife Kathy to help spread love and hope through human connection in Minneapolis. Alternatively, memorials/donations could be made to the family and sent to Gay & Ciha Funeral Home (2720 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City, IA 52240) and they will be forwarded. For full obituary and details on celebration services, refer to

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