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Edwin N. Olson, Jr.

Company C-2

17 Aug 1938 - 23 Apr 1994


Class Memorial Pages\C-2 Norm Olson.pdf

Taps Tribute:

Cullum No. 23813-1961 | April 23, 1994 | Died in Portland ,OR Cremated. Interred in Willamette National Cemetery, Portland OR

Edwin Norman Olson Jr. was born in Tampa, FL to Bertha and Norman Olson. While a youngster, he spent time living in Tampa and in Laredo, TX. Ultimately the family was able to settle permanently in Mobile, AL, where Normís parents lived the rest of their lives. Norm attended Mobileís Murphy High School and was a respected player on the high school basketball team that won the state championship his senior year. He was a member of the National Honor Society and a fine and competitive swimmer.

Norm hoped to attend West Point after high school but had to wait a year for his appointment, so he got to experience the fun of the University of Alabama and its Sigma Chi fraternity for a bit, remaining a fan of that school for his whole life. One of his granddaughters has now graduated from ďBama,Ē and a second is poised to go there. I know this pleases Norm; I can see his big grin and hear his distinctive laugh at this turn of events.

Norm played basketball at the Academy until a shoulder injury put an end to that, but he was able to be a part of the Water Polo Team, hop committees, the rabble-rousing cheerleaders, and dragging. The beginning of his firstie year, we met in the Weapons Room. I was immediately smitten by his gorgeous aqua eyes and southern charm. He took note of the fact that I was geographically desirable (I lived in New Jersey) and had a car!

After graduation, he went to Fort Benning, GA for Jump School and participated in Ranger training until it was time to ring the neck of a chicken to eat. At that point he packed it in: Fluffy towels, soft pillows, already cooked meals, and a glass of Drambuie were much more to his liking.

Fort Campbell, KY and the 101st Airborne was his next stop. In September 1962, we returned to West Point to be married and then headed to Campbell. It was an eventful time due to integration issues involving George Wallace and James Meredith in the South and the Cuban Missile Crisis, both of which put the 101st on alert.

Next, Norm was detailed to Intelligence, and, after some training at Fort Holabird, MD, we were off to Germany for three wonderful years. Norm got to wear civvies the whole time, as he worked with the local police on issues involving the East Germans. We spent time with the 527th MI Battalion in Kaiserslautern and then with the 7th Army Division in Stuttgart. Stuttgart was our favorite, for the beauty of the area and the fact that there were many fewer Americans in the area. I took classes, then graduated from the University of Maryland European Division, and Norm took graduate classes in business. We had a little red Volkswagen Beetle and, with the book Europe on $5 Dollars a Day, traveled as often as we were able.

At the end of our tour in Europe, he resigned his commission and took a sales job with Appleton Wire in Appleton, WI (where my family was living). For three years we enjoyed making new friends, buying our first house, and adjusting to snowy winters. We welcomed our first child, Tina, in May 1969. Though we lived in the Midwest, Normís territory was the South and Southeast, so he traveled a grueling five-to-six days a week.

In 1971, the company decided Norm should run the West Coast sales office, and we were allowed to pick where we would like to settle. We picked Portland, OR, and we never regretted that choice. I was pregnant with our second child, Rob, who arrived in May 1972.

In the early 90s, Appleton Wire was sold, and Norm lost his job. After working for a friend in the insurance business for a while, he was able to get a job with a Japanese wire firm, Filcon. He enjoyed his new colleagues and a memorable trip to Japan. Our whole family had fun knowing the polite and friendly Japanese gentlemen, and our horizons broadened thanks to those associations.

Norm died unexpectedly of a massive coronary in March 1994 at the age of 56, just four months before the wedding of our daughter, Tina, to Jason Potter. His life was too short, and he has missed so much that he would have relished.

Both of his children have married the best possible people, and our daughterís three children would have him bursting his buttons with pride. Our son, Rob, is a good golfer, as was Norm.

It is sad they cannot be enjoying that together. A true Pied Piper, Norm adored and charmed all babies and children. Seeing Gabby, Everett, and Maddie go from babes to adults, all Honor Society members in high school and as athletic as he was, would have made him a happy grandpa. I remember him as an athletic man of intellect and creativity who read constantly. He enjoyed people, treasured his years and friends at West Point, and was a fanatic sports fan. He didnít know one kind of a screwdriver from another, and he was sure not fond of yard work, but boy was he a great dancer.

Norm rests in Portland, OR at Willamette National Cemetery on a hill overlooking the mountains he loved and where Rob and his wife Sherry go visit him. In Dallas, Tina participates in Wreaths Across America every Christmas to honor her dad. Normís tall grandson, Everett, is now playing basketball for his high school team; and I know Norm is on the team bench too, proud and cheering.

ó Marcia Graef Olson Robison