A longtime Yankton journalist and one of the community’s most recognized World War II veterans has died.
Howard “Hod” Nielsen passed away early Wednesday at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton. He was 92.
Nielsen served a sports editor and sports writer at the Press & Dakotan for more than 40 years. His column, “Play by Play,” which he sometimes wrote daily, was published for decades, even after his retirement as sports editor (his second tour at that post) in 1986.
Nielsen was also a longtime radio announcer, with a career than began in 1950. He was a mainstay at KYNT-AM, and his voice was a longtime fixture at South Dakota state high school basketball tournaments. He was also widely recognized as the voice of the Yankton Bucks, and also broadcast many college sporting events, including those of his alma mater, the University of South Dakota.
Nielsen was a World War II veteran, having been a photo reconnaissance pilot. His military career received new exposure when Nielsen was featured in the best-selling book “The Greatest Generation” by Yankton native Tom Brokaw, who Nielsen befriended when Brokaw was in high school.
Nielsen’s funeral services are at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, Yankton. The Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home of Yankton is in charge of arrangements.