Donald Ellert Olson Sr. died peacefully in his home, surrounded by friends and family, on January 22, 2012. He will be remembered as a devoted husband, wonderful father, community servant and faithful friend.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Inga and Deorge, and brother Arthur Olson.
Donald is survived by his beloved wife of 62 years, Patricia Olson, daughter Jean Nascimento and son-in-law Patrick of Jacksonville, Ore., son Donald Olson Jr. and daughter-in-law Martha Bialik of Crescent City and son, Russell Olson and daughter-in-law Elsie of Forest Grove, Ore., sister-in law Ellen Olson of Minnesota, brother and sister-in-law Bob and Mary Jean Ames, sister-in-law Janet Ames, nephews and nieces Guy Ames, Brad Ames, Carolyn Walkner, Cathy Sherwin, Daniel Olson, Randy Ames, Doug Ames, Penny Nootbaar, Holly Ames and John Ames. Grandchildren include Donica Hughes, Nancy Jones (Mike), Devonna Nascimento, Crystal Nascimento, Phoebe Freeman (Micah), Jaden Olson, Hannah Gartland, Joey Gartland, Natalie Olson and Andrew Olson. Great-grandchildren: Alex Hughes, Elizabeth Harrah, Michael Jones, Peyton Jones, Ella Jones, Skylar Page and Sarah Page.
Donald was born on June 7, 1927, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Inga and Deorge Olson. Don grew up on a farm in Niagra, North Dakota, population 200. Donald and his parents did not survive the depression of the 1930s unscathed. In an attempt to save the family farm, Don left high school at age 16 to take a job at the Armour Meat Processing Plant. The farm was eventually lost and Donald was drafted into military service at age 18.
Donald attended basic training for the Army at Fort McMilan, Alabama, and Fort Ord in Monterey, California. From Monterey he rode a troop train to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Soon after a Victory Ship provided transportation oversees and Don landed at La Havre, France. Don served in France, Germany, Austria and Italy. Donald served as a personal guard for Colonel Bruce Clarke near the end of his tour. At the conclusion of World War II, Donald sailed home on a Victory Ship from Bremerhaven, Germany. Don was a life member in our local VFW Post 1381.
Upon his release from the military, Don returned to North Dakota and was employed as a butcher within 15 minutes of his arrival home. He invested some of his military savings to purchase 160 acres of farmland in Niagra, North Dakota. This land remains in the family today. Donald enrolled at the North Dakota School of Science and studied refrigeration and electrical trades. He soon met the love of his life, Patricia Johnson, from Wahpeton, North Dakota. Donald and Patricia were married on September 11, 1949, in North Dakota. Two of their three children, Jean and Donald Jr, were born in North Dakota. In 1955 Don and Pat moved to Crescent City. Russell, their third child, was born in 1956 at Seaside Hospital in Crescent City.
Don worked for the Bob Ames Company in refrigeration and appliance repair from the mid 1950s through 1971. In 1972 he went to work for the City of Crescent City as an electrical inspector. He worked for the City of Crescent City in many capacities, including code enforcement officer, building inspector, and assistant Public Works Director. He worked for the City of Crescent City until the age of 70, retiring in 1997.
Donald was very active as a volunteer firemen serving Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department for over 40 years. He joined the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department in 1963 and served continuously until 2003. He became Fire Chief and Fire Inspector in 1982 and served in that capacity until 1997. He continued to volunteer in the Fire Department until 2003.
Donald loved the outdoors and enjoyed annual deer hunting trips with Don Jr., Ted Robinson and Dan McClure to Siskiyou County. Don was also a great supporter of Del Norte High School Athletics. He was an active member in the Warriors’ Bench Boosters in the ’70s. Don enjoyed attending Del Norte High School football and basketball games to cheer for the Warriors.
Don will be missed by the community of Crescent City. He remained optimistically positive about life through his last days.
Family prefers contributions in Don’s memory to the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department Association, 520 I St., Crescent City, CA 95531; Grace Lutheran Church, 188 East Cooper Street, Crescent City, CA 95531 or the Del Norte Senior Center, 1765 Northcrest Drive, Crescent City, CA 95531.
Visitation will be held at Wier’s Mortuary Chapel on Friday, January 27, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Funeral Services will be at the Grace Lutheran Church, 188 East Cooper Street, Crescent City on Saturday, January 28, at noon.
Family and friends are invited for fellowship following services at the Del Norte Senior Center, 1765 Northcrest Drive, Crescent City.
A committal service will be held at the Eagle Point National Cemetery in Eagle Point, Ore., on Monday, January 30 at 11 a.m.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wier’s Mortuary Chapel of Crescent City.
— Submitted by Wier’s Mortuary Chapel