Patricia H. Nielsen

The Baltimore Sun

Patricia Herold Nielsen, an environmental activist and founding member of the Eastern Shore's Chester River Association, died of breast cancer Feb. 28 at her Brooklyn, N.Y., home. She was 59.

Born and raised Patricia Herold in Westfield, N.J., she earned a degree in English literature from Emmanuel College in Boston in 1970.

She began her broadcasting career at WBUR-FM in Boston as an associate producer, and later joined WCVB-TV, also in Boston, as a member of its award-winning documentary unit.

Later moving to New York, she produced segments and specials for WNET-TV and NBC's The Today Show and Today at Night.

In 1981, she married Ed Nielsen, who also worked in TV as a film editor and director, and together the couple shared Corsica Farm, a family-owned Centreville farm that dates to the 1780s and overlooks the Corsica River.

"I grew up on the farm and river and she came to love it, too," Mr. Nielsen said. "But over the years, we saw how the bay collapsed and we realized its ecosystem was in trouble. The crabs became scarce and the grasses were vanishing."

For more than 20 years, Mrs. Herold Nielsen worked for the restoration of the bay through her work with the Chester River Association, where she had been president and was a longtime member of its board.

She also established and was a contributor to Currents, the organization's newsletter.

The couple split their time between the Eastern Shore farm and a home in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood.

Mrs. Herold Nielsen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer a decade ago, continued working as a television writer and producer until 2004, when she retired because of her illness.

She enjoyed cooking, entertaining, gardening, writing poetry and listening to music.

A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Centreville.

Also surviving are two sons, Matthew H. Nielsen of Burlington, Vt., and Judd M. Nielsen of Brooklyn, N.Y.; her mother, Dorothy Herold of Whiting, N.J.; a brother, Tony Herold of Neshanic, N.J.; and a sister, Betsy Herold of Morris Plains, N.J.

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