Pamela Jeanne Nielson Boline


January 1, 1956 - November 30, 2015


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. 



None Scheduled


Saturday, December 5, 2015
10:00 AM
Sherman Center
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 West University
Mitchell, South Dakota

Posted by Dan Estabrook on January 11, 2016
Pam was one of the best teachers I have had.If she didn't know the answer ...she would have it for you at the beginning of the next class.Reading your posts I am not surprised in the least that Pam was
A joy in private as she was in class...A real loss but hopefully through the people she inspired ..lives on .
Posted by Paul Hubbeling on December 4, 2015
Pam was a blessing to so so many people. Thank you Pam, Kent. As I sit here recalling many fond memories with both, I'm certain Kent was waiting for this day - to reunite. Blessings! You are both missed, very much!
Posted by Ruby Lang Castardo on December 3, 2015
I worked with Pam at Abbott House and was blessed to be friends with her and Kent outside of work. I enjoyed many Halloween parties. When Kent and Pam moved out to the country I was able to supply them with exotic chickens that could be seen in the yard. Pam was an amazing person and will be greatly missed.
Posted by Cathy Gramm Anderson on December 3, 2015
Pam, Kent, and I had the best times in the 80's. I will never forget their wedding. It was the hottest day of the year and we were melting in our dresses. It was a wonderful day! Pam was one of the best people I know. She would do whatever she could to make the world a better place for others. My deepest sympathy to the Nielson and Boline families. Pam will be greatly missed.
Posted by Wendy Davis Gugel on December 3, 2015
I've known Pam since we were in kindergarten together and can't believe that such a wonderful person is no longer here with us! I have so many memories of Pam - staying at her home as children, Girl Scout camp outs, high school adventures... Pam was always the best one to tell a story. Somehow when she told it, it was bigger, better, funnier than anyone else could convey. I will miss her so much. My heart and prayers are with all of her family: Karen, Rich, Wally and all the students she loved and cared for.
Posted by Mike McGreevy on December 3, 2015
So sorry to hear of Pam's passing. She was a kind, caring and helpful person. She did so much to help people who needed a little help. My sympathy to all those who will miss Pam so much. She was a wonderful person who did a great deal of good.
Posted by Paula Platz on December 2, 2015
Pam's beautiful smile and compassion she shared for all will be dearly missed on earth. Heaven surely gained an angel. My sincere sympathy to her family and many close friends as you grieve the loss of dear Pam.
Posted by Cindy and John Wayne Carrington on December 2, 2015
We where so surprise to hear this news. Pam was a wonderful person she will be missed by many. I was looking forward talking to her in a few weeks. Cherish the memories and hold them close to your heart. Share the stories as she would want you too. May god bless all of you and guide you thru these next few days .
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