Mary Knox Champ Nielsen
August 24, 1926 -
September 10, 2008
Mary Knox Champ Nielsen, a resident of Wilton since 1970, passed away on Wednesday, September 10, 2008. She was 82 and suffered for many years with Low Grade Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She decided recently to let life take its course. She passed on peacefully, her husband at her side, holding her hand.
Mary was born August 24, 1926. Her parents were Frederick P. Champ and Frances W. Champ of Logan, Utah. As a teenager in the early 40’s, she often chauffeured her father through the Wasatch Mountains from one small town to the next to assist in the family banking business. Before college, she attended Brown School for Girls in Pasadena, California. In 1948 she graduated from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles with a B.S. / Fine Arts major. Mrs. Nielsen moved to NYC shortly thereafter to attend Traphagen School of Fashion Design, and the Chic School of Fashion, taking classes in patternmaking and draping. She also attended sketch classes at the Art Students League and won a hat contest sponsored by Hedda Hopper.
Mrs. Nielsen began her career in women’s fashion in 1952 at Jedwin’s Intermountain Knitting Mills in Ogden, Utah. To get started as a patternmaker she commuted 100 miles a day for the first 9 months. Soon she was Intermountain’s lead fashion designer. By the mid 50’s she was back in NYC living at the 3 Arts Club and working at Simplicity and Butterick exclusively as a pattern designer. Her women’s apparel sketches were flawless detailed masterpieces.
She met and married advertising executive, Svend Erik Nielsen on Oct 1, 1960.
They traveled the world together for business and pleasure- tours included the South Pacific, Bali, Brazil, France, Italy, Russia, Africa, India and China. Never without a camera, Mary has left behind an extensive photographic travel library.
Mary is survived by family in New England: husband, Svend Erik Nielsen; stepson, Niels Lawrence Nielsen, wife Tess and their daughter Sylkie. Survived by family in Logan, Utah: brother, George H. (“Herb”) Champ; niece, Teresa Champ-Major; husband, Rick Major and their 2 sons, Charles and Nicholas. Survived in Laguna Beach, California by nephew, George F. Champ; wife, Karen and triplets, Katie, Sarah and Adam. Her brother Frederick Winton Champ of Salt Lake City, Utah preceded her in death in Oct. 2001.
Mary’s family will receive friends on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 in Norwalk’s Hoyt-Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 5 East Wall Street from 10:00AM to 11:00AM. Her funeral will follow at 11:00AM in the funeral home, with the Rev. Robert D. Beinke officiating. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages contributions to the Mid-Fairfield Hospice, P.O BOX 489, Wilton, Conn. 06897 (www.visitingnurse.net), the Connecticut Public Television or the World Wildlife Fund.
CLICK "VIEW A VIDEO" FOR MARY'S VIDEO TRIBUTE. (UNDER PHOTO)