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Obituary: Leonard Oswald Olsen, 92

 

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Leonard Oswald Olsen

Leonard Oswald Olsen, longtime commercial fisherman, passed away March 31, 2015, at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Wash. He was born September 26, 1922, in Tea Harbor, Juneau, to Peter Aure and Leda B. (Oswald) Olsen. His family later moved to Ketchikan where Leonard and his two brothers grew up.

Leonard attended Charcoal Point School, where the Ketchikan Ferry Terminal is situated now. He left school to follow his big brother, Oscar, to Kodiak to work and help support his family.

He served in the U.S. Coast Guard (CG 50063) during World War II, patrolling the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, again, following his big brother, only in a different boat.

Towards the end of the war, Leonard was on the CG Reserve Vessel Tuscan, checking kerosene lanterns that marked waterway hazards near canneries in that area. They saw smoke from a campfire, and they were surprised to find two survivors of the Gillam Plane that crashed on Annette Island, 18 miles southwest of Ketchikan. Leonard and the other crew members were able to recover two survivors, and one of the passengers was, Joseph Hendersen Tippets, who is the father of John Tibbets, the author of the book, Hearts of Courage. The author called Leonard and asked him about any incidents he could remember. Leonard, who provided the author with many details, is also mentioned in the book.

After the war, Leonard worked in logging camps at Cape Pole, where he met his first wife, Osee. They moved to Port Protection, and in 1967 Leonard bought the FV O See O, and lived there 36 years. He was known to have the biggest wood pile in Port Protection. He became a commercial fisherman, and for many years, his nephews Peter and Erling were his deckhands. He retired from fishing at age 88 and sold the boat.

Up to the time of his death, his nephew Erling always called him the "Old Man of the Sea," because that always made Leonard smile and laugh. He was always visited at home by friends who would watch basketball games and his favorite team, the Seahawks, play football.

Leonard was preceded indeath by his parents, Peter and Leda, his former wives Osee and Cathy, his brothers Norman and Oscar, and Eric Olsen, a nephew. He is survived by his wife Josie Olsen, his nephews, Erling (Sharon) Olsen, Ole (Pat) Olsen, Peter (Kim) Olsen, Rob (Marlene) Olsen, nieces, Olivia (Don) Davis, Linda (Jim) Kinerk, and many grand nieces and nephews in Washington.

A Celebration of Life will take place May 2, 2015, at 1 p.m., at the Lutheran Church, officiated by Pastor Todd Penson. Following the service, a time of hospitality will take place in the church fellowship area. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Island of Faith Lutheran Church.

 

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