Pamela Jeanne Nielson Boline died unexpectedly at her home in rural Mitchell on November 30, 2015, at the age of 59. She was born in Redfield on January 1, 1956, to Wallace and Betty Bross Nielson. She was a 1974 graduate of Redfield High School.
Pam attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Studies and Sociology in December, 1977, and achieving a Master of Arts degree in Counseling, Guidance and Personnel Services in July, 1979. She married her childhood friend and soulmate, Kent Marshall Boline, of Parker, on June 27, 1981, in Mitchell. They made their home in rural Mitchell.
Pam’s entire career was spent in the human services field. In her earlier career, she worked at the Abbott House and the Dakota Mental Health Center as a counselor. In 1980, she began teaching at Dakota Wesleyan University as a part-time faculty member, and she also served as a campus counselor. In 1991, she began teaching full time at DWU, and she had been an associate professor of human services and department chair since 1994. She had served as the Faculty Athletic Representative, an athletic compliance official position, since 1993.
In recognition of her tremendous teaching ability, Pam received many awards, including the Sears Roebuck Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership (1991); Outstanding Humanitarian Award from the Mitchell YWCA (1992); Citationist for the Governor’s Volunteer of the Year (1992); DWU Presidential Award for Outstanding Service (1995); recognition for exemplary teaching by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (1998); the DWU Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence (1998); the DWU Student Senate Outstanding Club Adviser award for 2005-2006; and she was inducted into the Alpha Delta Omega Human Service Honor Society at the 2001 National Organization for Human Service Education Conference.
In addition to serving on multiple Dakota Wesleyan committees and task forces, Pam was committed to many human service organizations in the Mitchell community. She was a founding board member of the Mitchell Area Safehouse, serving as the board president and on the Safehouse Foundation Board; a founding board member of SD Court Appointed Special Advocates Association; she was the longest active member of the Davison County Child Protection Team, serving since 1983; founding member of the Mitchell Area Suicide Task Force; Mitchell Area Charitable Foundation Board; the Abbott House Board and Foundation Board; MTI Human Services Program Advisory Committee; Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota Board of Directors; Abbott House Board of Directors and Foundation Board; chaired the Davison County American Heart Association board; and she was a United Way volunteer and campaign presenter.
She served as a district, regional and state oral interpretation competition judge; was the review board chairperson and an event judge for the South Central Regional Science and Engineering Fair; and she was a Tannenbaum Festival volunteer.
Pam was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where she served as a Sunday school teacher, and on the Mission Growth Committee, was Church Council president, and co-chair of the German-Norwegian Dinner.
Pam was a team player on campus at DWU, as well as in the Mitchell community. A DWU TeamMaker booster club member for many years, she was a surrogate mother to hundreds of students over the course of her time at DWU. Whether she was feeding student-athletes, welcoming students into her home, or hiring students to work at her farm so they could earn money in difficult financial times, she was always committed to students and supported their activities. She rarely missed a DWU student performance or competition, and you always knew where to find her on the stage bleachers at the Corn Palace. Her mission in life was to try and make everyone else’s lives happier and brighter.
Pam was preceded in death by her husband, Kent, in June, 2011, and by her mother Betty Nielson in 2001. In addition to her former and current students and DWU family, Pam is survived by her father, Wallace Nielson of Austin, TX, her sister, Karen Nielson of Fort Worth, Texas, her brother, Richard Nielson and his wife Shelley of Pierre, and her brothers-in-law Jody Boline of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Garret Boline of Lead. She is also survived by nephews Avery Boline and Stephen (Katie) Nielson, nieces Caddie Boline, Maggie (Perry) Nielson Job, Katie Nielson and Emily Nielson, and four-legged friend Duke and three-legged friend Daisy.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at the Sherman Center on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus. A light lunch will follow.
Pam wished to begin a fund at DWU for emergency assistance for students in need, so in lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Dakota Wesleyan University to establish this fund in her name.