Niel M BielskiMay 9, 1930 ~ December 22, 2017 (age 87)
Passed away quietly at home on the morning of December 22nd, 2017. He is survived by his son Michael, daughter-in-law Kelley, grandson Michael, sisters Elsie Downhour (who passed two days later,) and Edna Caler, and a large extended family. Born in Michigan City, IN to George and Helena Bielski, he was the second of four children. His parents, wife Charleen, and older brother George preceded him in death.
Niel grew up in Rolling Prairie, IN and attended Rolling Prairie HS. In 1949 he entered the U.S. Army and served in Okinawa, Japan for 16 months and then, after being honorably discharged and recalled to service, served with the Third Army Division in the Korean War for 13 months before being wounded and discharged in 1951 with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
After returning home he met his wife, Charleen Piazza, and they were married on June 28th of 1952. Shortly after marriage they moved to Edmonds, WA where he studied to be a railroad telegrapher and then found employment at the Illinois Central Railroad in Momence, IL. In 1957 they moved to Sacramento, CA and Niel found work at McClellan Air Force Base, but eventually picked up carpentry work and joined the union. In 1959 he obtained his B1 license and started his own construction company, Niel Bielski Construction, which he ran for many years before moving on to superintendent positions at several other home builders throughout Northern California. Niel finally hung up his tools for good in his early 70s to care for Charleen as her health care began to be his primary focus.
In 1964 they adopted their son Michael George and in 1971 moved Loomis, CA, which Niel and Charleen eventually made their retirement home. In 1987 they were blessed with their only grandchild, Michael. In October of 1973 Niel joined the Elks Lodge in Auburn, CA and went on to serve not only in that Lodge but also at the District and State level. Elkdom was truly in his heart and always on his mind, whether it was volunteering for Lodge duties, supporting various charitable works, or standing in for fellow members when they were under the weather. He believed in the values and ideals of Elkdom and was rewarded with the friendship and support of a great many people throughout the years.
A memorial will be held at the Auburn Elks Lodge on Sunday, January 21st, 2018 at 12:00 PM, and a graveside service will be held on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Calvary Cemetery in Citrus Heights, CA. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Elks Major Project in his name. Contact the Auburn Elks Lodge for information.