Robert "Bob" Lowell Nickelsen

Tuesday, November 29th, 1927 - Friday, May 8th, 2020
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Robert Lowell Nickelsen passed away peacefully Friday, May 8, 2020, following a long life filled with warm family experiences, dedicated orchard farming and decades of community service that positively shaped Hood River County for generations to come.

A private family memorial service will be held at future date and shared via Anderson’s Tribute Center Facebook live.

Bob was born in Hood River, Ore., on Nov. 29, 1927. Throughout his life, he was an admired and loved son, husband, father, grandfather, orchardist, friend, volunteer firefighter and community leader. Bob’s spirit will live long in the memories of the many people and lives that he touched with a smile on his face, twinkle in his eye and a quiet voice — that while often hard to hear — was always worth listening to for wise counsel and humor.

Bob was a noted pear orchardist, and his farm — Nickelsen Orchards — is well known for fine fruit quality and the tireless innovation that Bob brought to farming after attending then Oregon State College.
Bob was born to Lowell and Martha Nickelsen in Hood River and attended the original Hood River High School, where he played in the school band and met his first wife, Bette Bullis. Bob and Bette had three children, Randalyn (Randy), who proceeded her father in death in 2017, Robert Jr., who lived for only one day; and Chris, who carries on his father’s legacy by running Nickelsen Orchards and his active community engagement. Bette Nickelsen passed away in summer of 1984. Bob married Shirley Winter in February 1987 and together they enjoyed a long and happy later life of orchard work, world travel and family until his passing at Brookside Manor. Prior to marrying Bob, Shirley raised a family with the late Jim Winter.

Bob was a volunteer member of the Westside Fire Department for more than 60 years and served as the department’s fire chief for 19 years and board member for more than a decade. He served multiple terms as an elected commissioner of the board of the Port of Hood River. While on the board, Bob and fellow board members led the port’s acquisition and redevelopment of former Diamond Fruit facilities near downtown Hood River that inspired an expanded economy for the city and region. Bob and port board members also innovatively improved port property along the Columbia River leading to world-class recreation opportunities for thousands and diverse jobs for hundreds of local residents.

Bob served on state and national pear commodity commissions helping to promote the fruit that Hood River is globally known for. While on the board of directors for the Farmers Irrigation District, he worked with other board members to guide creation of a modern water delivery system for farms that also generates and conserves electricity. He was also active in the Hood River Masonic Lodge No 105 A.F. & A.M. and a past grand master.

Bob is survived by his wife, Shirley; son, Chris and his wife, Melanie; step daughters, Joann Frazier and her husband, Randy, and Kathy Bailey and her husband, Alan; son-in-law, Steve Clark; grandchildren, Colin, Conor, Jessa, Dodi, Heidi, Nick and Joe, and seven great grandchildren, all who loved and admired him.

Services for Bob will be shared live via Anderson's Tribute Center Facebook page 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 16th, 2020. Bob’s reflections of life and service video will be shared after his service on his webguestbook where you are also encouraged to leave a note of condolence for the family.

Contributions in Bob’s memory can be made to the Westside Volunteer Fire Department, 1185 Tucker Road, Hood River, OR 97031; or the Providence Foundation Sunshine Club, 1550 Brookside Drive, Hood River, OR 97031.

The family would like to pass on a special thanks to The Sunshine Group, Providence Brookside Manor, Bobbi Way, Providence Hospice of the Gorge, Dr. Stephen Vogt and the Westside Fire Department.

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River.
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Services for Bob will be shared live via Anderson's Tribute Center Facebook Live 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 16th, 2020.


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Mitch Hosford

Posted at 08:04pm
Condolences to Bob's family and friends at this time of his passing and always. He is one of the good ones; that whole era of folks with Bob included will be sorely missed a lot. We send our best as memories flood our minds as how much fun the had, the hard work accomplished, community service given to this valley, and friendships that were made along the way. Rest in Peace Bob. Sincerely, Mitch and Barb Hosford

Sue & Pat Moore

Posted at 12:08pm
We were sad to read of Bob's passing - it was the loss of a great and kind man. Our sympathy to Shirley and to all of you in the family. May you find comfort during this especially hard time. Sending hugs.

Lee Cody

Posted at 10:14am
My condolences to Chris and all of Bob's family. One of my best memories of Bob is when Chris invited me to go to the Harlem Globetrotter game at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Chris and I must have been about 11 years old. That was such a fun time. He was a very generous and caring person, a great man.
Respectfully, Lee Cody

Melanie Nickelsen Posted at 09:24pm

How sweet of you to remember that Lee! I will share with Chris. Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot!

Steven Glatter, Janet Hamada and family

Posted at 01:29am
So sorry to learn of Bob's passing. Our deepest sympathy for you and your family.

With love, Janet, Steve, Melanie and Elana

Melanie Nickelsen Posted at 09:25pm

Thank you Steve and Janet and girls!!❤️

Ann Weldon

Posted at 07:32pm
Chris, Melanie and Jessa - so very sorry for your loss. With our love, Jerry and Ann Weldon (Shonn's parents)

Melanie Nickelsen Posted at 07:02pm

Thank you sweet Weldon family. Your kind words mean so much to us as Bob will be deeply missed by so many, and especially us. Love you!

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