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John O. Olsen

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John O. Olsen Obituary
John O. Olsen

Stanwood, WA

May 7, 2013

John, age 79, was born in Seattle, WA on April 16, 1934 and passed away peacefully at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA on the evening of May 7, 2013 as a result of congestive heart failure. He was blessed to have the undying love and support of his entire family throughout his final days.

The oldest son of John and Jenny Olsen, who immigrated to Seattle from Norway, John was born and raised in Ballard, but spent every summer of his youth on his beloved grand-parents farm in Stanwood. After graduating from Ballard High School in 1951, John attended the University of Washington where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. His first job upon graduating was with the State of Washington, where he worked on designing I-5. After a brief stint as the first City Engineer for the City of Lynnwood in the early 1960's, John went on to enjoy a long and distinguished career with Reid Middleton & Associates, one of the most prestigious engineering firms in the Pacific Northwest.

John retired to Norway Park at Lake McMurray in 1997 as one of the pre-eminent authorities on marina design and construction in the Puget Sound region, having his fingerprints on nearly every well-known boat harbor throughout the Pacific Northwest. Because of his innovative pier and float designs, he was known to his peers as the "Father of the Modern Marina". His crowning career achievement came in the form of the United States Naval Base at the Port of Everett, WA.

When the Navy decided to come to Washington, they had selected three locations for the base, none of which was Everett. After looking closely at all three locations, John petitioned and ultimately convinced the Navy that Everett was a better location than any they had previously selected. Having prevailed, he then had to compete with other firms to win the base design contract for his company. After a fierce competition, the Navy decided that John's design and cost estimates were superior to all the rest, awarding Reid Middleton & Associates the much coveted contract. He was nearly single-handedly responsible for the millions of dollars that flow through the City of Everett and Snohomish County as a result of the US Naval Homeport now located in Everett.

John married the love of his life, Sandra, in Seattle in 1957 and shared 55 happy years together while raising three kids in Lynnwood, WA. John was a devoted and loving husband, father, mentor and role model who instilled his honesty, integrity, family values and zest for life within each and every one of them. He was a tireless volunteer who donated much of his time to Norway Park and Norse Home of Seattle. He will be forever loved and greatly missed not only by his family, but by all who had the great fortune to get to know and spend time with him.

John was preceded in death by his beloved Brother Ron Olsen. He is survived by his devoted and loving wife Sandra, his son Kris (wife Tricia), son Doug, daughter Karen, sister Linda (husband Jim), nephews Cody, Jake and Carson, sister-in-law Linda, nephew Greg, niece Jennifer, Cousin Georg and grand-children Kris Jr., Nick, Kristen, Annie and Shawne.

There will be a "Celebration of Life" for John on Sunday May 19th from 1:00 to 4:00pm at Sons of Norway Leif Erikson Lodge, 2245 NW 57th St., Seattle, WA 98107. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the .
Published in The Seattle Times from May 11 to May 12, 2013
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