George Clifford Olson passed away December 13, 2012. I will always remember his generosity and example of faithfulness.
I was born October 18, 1925 in Duluth, MN. My mother and father were both Swedish. My father was born in Sweden; my mother was born in Minneapolis, MN. I was their third child. I had three brothers and two sisters.
I went to Washburn Grade School, East Jr. High and Central High Schoo
I loved hunting, fishing, swimming, horse back riding, ice skating, snow skiing, and hockey. When I was a child we made flat bottom boats. We used a 3/4 HP Briggs and Stratton motor for power, in addition to saids in the boats.
I was drafted into World War II in 1944. I spent a total of three years in the U.S. Army, with one year on the front lines. After basic training I volunteered for the Ski Troop 10th Mountain Division. We were shipped out to Italy because they were having so much trouble in the mountains. The first mountain we took was Mount Belvedere. After that we went up and down the mountains chasing the Germans back to Germany. We crossed the Po River in assault boats. Then we built a bridge across the river and got our artillery tanks across. We traveled north in the mountains and cut the Germans off in Brenner Pass. We were then put on a ship and brought back to the U.S. for a 20 day leave before being shipped to Japan.
During this leave I was seriously shot in the shoulder in a hunting accident. I was shipped via train, by myself, from hospital to hospital all over the country, as no one knew how to repair the hole in my shoulder. They finally repaired the shoulder in Fort Bliss, TX. I wore a full body cast, and it took about a year to heal. The last couple of months I spent in Gull Lake, Michigan. Mr. Kellogg of Kellogg Foods had a large estate which the army used as a rehabilitation center. There I continued my healing; both physically and emotionally. It was a beautiful facility where we could boat and I learned how to play golf.
After returning to Duluth I got a job working at the city of Duluth Gas Company. I started out as a Meter Reader. I didn’t like that job and wanted to work as a building contractor with my Dad. He suggested I stay where I was because of the corporate benefits I got there. I stayed and was promoted to a meter installer, and then ended my career in what I thought of as the “best job”; it was as an inspector of water and gas lines. I worked for the City of Duluth Water and Gas Company for forty years.
When I was working as a meter reader, I went to a toboggan party and met a pretty blond girl named Doris Wedan. Our romance started with her offering me some bubble gum and continued with a marriage of 51 years. During this time we had five children, three sons and two daughters. Doris died in 2000 after many years of poor health.
In addition to working for the Water and Gas Department, I worked with my Dad doing building construction which I enjoyed. We built and remodeled many houses for family members. I volunteered my time doing the cement block and concrete work for two church additions and a church campground. I built many fireplaces, garage floors, and brick planters.
In 2002 I met a brunette, Lois Holdahl. We married in January 2003. In October 2003, right before I was going to have knee surgery, my kidneys failed and I had to start dialysis three times a week. We have remodeled the cabin in Brainerd to be handicap accessible and now live a quiet life there. I use a scooter to get around the house and yard. I love to watch the birds and enjoy the pontoon and the lake.