Clifford Nilsen

July 19, 1932 - June 23, 2009

Clifford Nilsen, 76, died Tuesday June 23, 2009, near his home in Pinehurst, N.C. After successfully battling lung cancer, Cliff passed away from conditions related to pulmonary fibrosis.

Cliff was born July 19, 1932, in Jamaica, N.Y. He graduated from Hofstra University in 1956 and married the love of his life, Charlene Renninger, in 1959. Cliff and Charlene had two children, Wendy and Kurt.

Cliff had a long, successful career in finance in New York and Milwaukee. Cliff spent many years in the financial community in New York, serving as president of the Chemical and Surveyor mutual funds; executive vice president and director of Eberstadt Asset Management and director of the New York State Municipal Bond Bank Agency and East New York Savings Bank. In 1981, Cliff joined the Milwaukee brokerage firm of Blunt Ellis & Loewi to start a money-management affiliate. Five years later, he and a group of employees purchased the affiliate, launching Capital Investment Services of America. Cliff retired as chairman of CISA in 1998. Cliff and Charlene happily retired to Pinehurst, N.C., in 2001.

Cliff had a lifelong love of horses, which spanned from his boyhood on Long Island to first meeting Charlene at a stable in the 1950s, to the many horses ridden by him, his family and many of their friends. He also was devoted to the Christian life, deriving great happiness in doing what he could to help others. Cliff particularly appreciated and supported the charitable work done by the Salvation Army, Sandhills Teen Challenge and the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

Cliff is survived by his wife, Charlene; two children; five grandchildren; three nieces and nephews; and many close friends in North Carolina, New York, Wisconsin and others all over the world.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Gladys, and his grandson, Sean.

A visitation will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, June 26, at the Boles Funeral home in Southern Pines, N.C. Funeral services will be held at the Sandhills PCA church at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 27.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Salvation Army, Resource Development, 501 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217; Sandhills Teen Challenge, P.O. Box 1701, Southern Pines, NC 28388; or to Milwaukee Rescue Mission, 830 N. 19th St., Milwaukee, WI 53233.

Boles Funeral Homes & Crematory is serving the family. For more information, call (910) 692-6262. Online condolences may be made at