The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
NEILS RAY POULSEN
ONEIDA- Neils Ray Poulsen passed away peacefully into the arms of his Lord, surrounded by his family, at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, Fla., on July 14, 2021, at the age of 86. Neils (Neels) was born in Oneida, N.Y., on July 9, 1935. He was predeceased by his father, Olaf Ray Poulsen; his mother, Mildred Claire (Lawrence) Poulsen; and grandson, Michael Gabriel Mosley. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Catherine Dorothy (Kitty Carney) Poulsen, and is lovingly remembered by his six children and their spouses, his 20 grandchildren and their spouses, and 28 great-grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by his sisters and brothers, Christine (Poulsen) Rizzo and Angie Lazio (Rome), Marianne (Carney) and Peter Dunn (Oneida), Dr. Raymond and Jeannie (Collier) Carney (Elmira), and Margaret (Carney) and John Wille (Cincinnati); and his nieces and nephews, Christine Rizzo and Tim Laguy. Anna (Rizzo) and Darrell Oliver, Mary Claire (Rizzo) and Michael Bonney, Vito Jr., and Janel Rizzo, Deborah Dunn, Andrew Dunn, Daniel Dunn, Lisa (Dunn) and Sean Mckeon, Amy (Dunn) and Peter Falk , Kristin (Carney) and Bobby Ryder, Karin (Carney) and David Fice, Sean and Maria Carney, Ryan and Alix Carney, Jason Wille, Keri (Wille) Hayes, Bob and Julia Wille and their children. Neils earned his Eagle Scout and served as Waterfront Director of the Boy Scout Camps in the Oneida/rome area, before graduating from Oneida High School in 1953. He fell in love with his future bride while performing with her in the OHS play, “Our Town” in their senior year. He obtained his degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University before joining the U.S. Air Force and earning a master’s degree from the University of Florida. He earned his Air Force pilot’s wings in April 1960 and flew many single and multi-engine planes during his Regular Air Force and Air Force Reserve career. He was proud to have piloted the AC-130 Gunship “First Lady,” which is on display at the Air Force Armament Museum in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. Upon earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserves and having flown 6000 hours, he was promoted to full Colonel while Commander of the 711/919th at Duke Field, Fla. He was then assigned to the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Atlantic (JUWTFA), all while working for 30 years as a Test Engineer for Eglin Air Force Base before retiring to be Papaw of his extensive family. Neils was a communicant of St. Joseph Church (Oneida). Through his love of God and music, which began at St. Joseph’s, he founded the Folk Group/contemporary Choir at Saint Mary Catholic Church (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.), a ministry that he directed and was part of for over 50 years. He also took great joy in performing and traveling with the Fort Walton Beach Community Chorus, including a performance in Germany. Neils was President of the Oneida HS class of 1953. In retirement, he and Kitty would bring their RV north each year for an extended visit. Besides spending time with numerous family and friends in the greater Oneida area, the visit was an opportunity for the annual Class of 1953 Reunion. After the 50th reunion in 2003, the event grew to include the members of several adjacent OHS classes and became a much-anticipated annual event. A Funeral Mass was held at St. Mary Catholic Church (Fort Walton Beach), and his internment was at Fort Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla.