Francois Nielsen

Obituary of Francois Nielsen

Francois Nielsen, 68, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, died peacefully in Chapel Hill on Thursday, June 7, 2018 of complications related to pneumonia.

Born on June 17, 1949 in Brussels, Belgium to Francoise Rolin and David Nielsen.  Francois began working as a professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1982.  After receiving he bachelor's degree in Sociology at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, he came to the United States for the first time in 1972 to obtain he doctoral degree from Stanford University.

Francois bravely battled cancer and other health conditions for nearly eight years.  He continued to teach at UNC until very recently, when he no longer had the energy to do so.  Widely respected in his field as an academic, teacher, and mentor, his research specialties included social stratification, income inequality, sociobiology, and quantitative methods.  At the time of his death, he was still actively engaged in research, writing and collaboration with current and former students and colleagues.  

Francois was a wonderful cook, enjoyed traveling, writing, and spending time with family and friends.  He read extensively about his many varied personal interests, including history, politics, evolutionary biology, and fonts.  He was brilliant, caring, funny and kind, an amazing husband, father, colleague, and friend.  He was deeply loved, and will be greatly missed.

Francois is survived by his wife, Martha Diehl; and his two children, Claire and Sam Nielsen.   

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date, to be announced.  Memorials in Francois' name may be made to Orange County Animal Services, 1601 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill, NC27516, or to a charity of one's choice.

The Nielsen family is under the care of Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill.

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