Maria Anna Nielsen, SFC, Ret., 53, passed away on March 16, 2021 at Honor Heath Deer Valley Medical Center, Phoenix, Ariz., with loving family by her side. She was born Sept. 25, 1967 in New Britain, daughter of Rosemary M. Tolis and the late Carmine Colossale. She was a graduate of Averett University of Virginia class of 2012 after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, she continued her education and in 2014 graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration in International Business from Western International University of Arizona and had been living in Phoenix Arizona for the past 16 years. She joined the U.S. Army National Guard in 1989 and did her basic training with 3rd Battalion 26th Infantry Regiment at Fort Dix New Jersey. She continued her Army training throughout her military career taking her to Fort Knox Ky., USASSI NCOA Fort Jackson S.C., Fort McCoy Wis., Hagerstown Md., USARB Beckley St Louis Mo., USAMSC-K Camp Carroll Korea, 123D ARCOM Fort Harrison Ind., CSCC Calif., CSCC U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Beckley W.Va., to name a few. She was proud of her White House Visit and Top Recruiter of the Year award. She held more certificates, Commendations, Achievements, Ribbons and Medals than can be listed. With all of that she still found time to volunteer with youth soccer early in her career and she continued helping many along the way. After 23 years of service to her country she retired 2013. Her love for her daughter and family was always first and she would often speak of her late grandparents, Angelo A Tolis, Sr. and Rose G Tolis (Fuller) and how she cherished those childhood memories. Helping other people would always be next for her, sometimes placing her in rough neighborhoods helping the homeless. She would always carry supplies to handout, just another way for her to give back. She is survived by her daughter Jennifer Anna Marie Nielsen, Ariz., ex-husband George C Nielsen, Texas, her Mother Rosemary M Tolis, Conn., her sister Dawn Schneider, Conn., her brothers Howard J Zelek and his wife Elizabeth Zelek, Conn., Alan E Schneider, Comnn., Robert E Schneider, Conn., Bruce Martin, L.I., and many Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews that she loved dearly. She was the rock of our family, loved by many, and will be missed by all who knew her. A private military graveside service was held. Donations in her memory may be made to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516. To share memories or express condolences online please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com .