top of page
Home / About MPLS / Lynn E. Nielsen




During his lifetime, Lynn was a Price Lab student, faculty member, administrator and Lab School parent. His contributions to the school, the university, and his community, extend far beyond those roles. In recognition of his hard work and dedication in establishing this history website and the Price Lab History project, we can think of no better words to honor him than these, written by those who knew him best, as part of the celebration of his life. Our thanks to Lynn's family for allowing us to share it here.


Lynn Ethan Nielsen was born on August 12th, 1947 in Waterloo, IA and died April 20th, 2015 in Cedar Falls, IA.
Lynn was a true renaissance man.

Family Life

Lynn was born to Elva and Adolph Nielsen, the second of six siblings. Siblings include: Marilyn (Dave) Voorhis, Marlys (Sim) Austin, Maren Nielsen, Jerel (Yvonne) Nielsen, and Curtis (Janet) Nielsen. Lynn married mary Taylor on December 28th, 1969 in Dallas Center, Iowa. In 1973, the were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Annelie Catherine. In 1976, Zachary Taylor completed the Nielsen quartet. For the last 12 years, he was adored by his seven grandchildren: Taylor, Autumn, Juliana, Emery, Mya, Alexandra, and Toby Jace.


Educational Life

Lynn began his college career at the University of Northern Iowa in 1965. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Iowa and completed a degree in elementary education. In 1978, he began his graduate studies at the University of Iowa and finished his doctoral work in 1980.

He began in his teaching career in elementary education. He taught in New Hartford, IA and at Price Lab School for many years. In 1988 he transitioned to educational administration at Price Lab until 1998 when he began his teaching career at the University of Northern Iowa in the department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Lynn had a ferocious passion for learning and loved to share that with anyone and everyone, young and old. This was proven to be true throughout his adult life as he spent countless hours of instructive energy helping students grow in their love of learning. It could have been a 3rd grader writing a simple poem in the style of Dr. Seuss or a PhD student receiving the helpful critique to take their writing from good to great.


In addition to his educational career, Lynn had a deep knowledge of and zeal for iowa history. He helped author a textbook on Iowa history, served on the Iowa Council for the Social Studies, and was a general expert on all things related to the history of the great state of Iowa.


Lynn entered Price Lab School beginning in 1955 as a 2nd grader. He graduated in 1965 and was in the midst of planning his 50-year reunion.


His latest project and passion was devoted to the history of Price Lab School. He helped to develop a website and was the administrator of the Price Lab History Facebook page. He was currently working on faculty biographies to include in the website.


Artistic Life

Many would say that Lynn was the most creative man they ever met. Was there ever a time that Lynn didn’t have a “project”?

Many do not know that Lynn was quite skilled in drawing and painting. He was an art major at UNI for two years before changing his major to education. Though not something he chose to spend significant time on in his later adult life, there are many pieces of art that he left behind that his family will cherish.

One of Lynn’s many talents was playing the piano and organ. Thousands of hours were spent honing his gifts for the sake of inviting others into his musical joy through church services, recitals, and gatherings around the piano in numerous informal settings. He truly was gifted by God to bless others through music.

Gardening was another artistic pursuit of Lynn’s Few could say that they had a garden as lovely as the one created by him. He meticulously picked and placed every pot and plant. It truly was a slice of Eden tucked away at 2419 Tremont

In 2008 Lynn and Mary purchased a cabin at the Cedar Falls Bible Conference grounds. This was one of Lynn’s most treasured projects. He invested four years of his life seeing the cabin transition from a broken down domicile to the prime jewel of the Bible Conference neighborhood. His investment in this property will bless his family and friends for years to come.

Due to his deep love of all things artistically beautiful, in the past decade Lynn traveled frequently to places like France and Germany. One of his favorite memories would undoubtedly be his recital with his sister, Marlys Austin, at Idar-Oberstein, Germany, and his opportunity to play the magnificent pipe organ at Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet church in Paris, France.


Relational Life

Everyone knows that Lynn loved a good party. That might be the understatement of the year. He and Mary were such generous hosts on so many occasions. There was never a reason not to have a party and the laughing, singing, and celebrating could be heard and felt for miles around. His artistic flair was also expressed in his love for cooking meals that would dazzle the finest of chefs.


Lynn loved relationships, and innumerable meals were shared that were engulfed in intellectually stimulating conversations based on the books he was reading, the college-aged neighbors he was terrorizing, or his plans for new projects, big and small.


Lynn was highly empathetic to those in need. Whether it be the residents at NewAldaya that needed companionship, an international student that needed a place to call home, or a friend in crisis, Lynn always made himself available.

If you ever needed an advocate for justice, he was more than willing to author a strongly worded email on your behalf.


Spiritual Life

Lynn spent much of his adult life reading, discussing, and studying the Bible with many close friends. He loved to share his faith. He drew strength from the wisdom that he found there and was more than willing to communicate this life-giving wisdom to others. Numerous people have been blessed over the years by his spiritual investment in them. God, in Jesus was his exceedingly great joy (Psalm 43:4) and his refuge in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1)

Receive the latest news and updates in your inbox


Receive News and Updates

bottom of page