Denise “NeeNee” Foy Nielsen

Denise “NeeNee” Foy Nielsen was a friend to all and her spirit brightened everyone in her presence. Denise passed away from cancer on Oct. 5, 2020 and is greatly missed by her five children, five grandchildren, five sisters, and many friends.

Denise was born in Pasadena, California, on Jan. 6, 1961. From her earliest years, Denise made her parents and her sisters laugh with her dry wit and sense of humor. She excelled in school and swimming at Marymount High School in Los Angeles and had a penchant for writing and storytelling. She earned a degree in Political Science from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. After college graduation and traveling extensively, she moved to Coronado and became a paralegal and a night auditor at the Hotel del Coronado where she met her future husband Richard Nielsen. She intended to go to law school but her plans shifted when she started a family. She raised her family in Coronado and began a career in retail management for Nordstrom and Loews Hotels. She earned her MBA at Point Loma Nazarene University and soon after opened a home goods boutique “Cherub’s Cottage” in La Jolla.

Denise moved to Pacific Grove, California in 2010 where she raised her sons Ryan and Brad, created deep friendships throughout the community, attended endless baseball games and water polo matches, and managed a large retail store on Cannery Row.

Denise was the first person to call when you had to vent or figure out a problem. She listened, she made you laugh, and she gave sound advice. Her days were often full of finding ways to make others feel uplifted and strengthened. She made a delicious spaghetti and her Thanksgiving dishes were the highlight every year. She had a fondness for snowmen, cherubs, Christmas décor and See’s Candies. She created a vocabulary all her own that is carried on today, and when the mood struck, she could sing an aria of Anne Murray’s “Snowbird.”

Denise found joy in simple pleasures such as afternoon naps, picnics with her grandbabies, and catching up with friends and family. She found humor in writing late-night poems about mundane annoyances. She found comfort in knowing that her five children were smart, kind, and resilient. She found peace in her deep faith in God and she instilled the power of faith and prayer into her children.

Denise is survived by her five children, Gretchen (Derek) McOuat, Heidi Nielsen, Bridgett (Alex) Nunn, Ryan Nielsen, and Bradley Nielsen; her four grandchildren: Mason McOuat, Jax McOuat, Eloise McOuat, and Cooper Nunn; her five sisters: Michele Halligan, Anastasia Jove, Shannon Brown, Chantal Strobel, and Noreen Pfund; and 14 nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents Allan Bernard Foy and Mia Reed Foy, her nephew Austen Allan Strobel, and her first grandchild Scott Thomson McOuat.

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