Erik Scott Olsen, 64, had a child's exuberance for life; he was the guy who literally made the most out of every single day. He had an incredibly positive attitude and a kind heart, always willing to lend a helping hand. Erik was always looking for something "fun" to do, whether it be skiing Bridger Bowl, riding his horses in the mountains, backpacking, elk and bird hunting with friends, riding his bike, golfing with his parents and nephews, canoeing the Yellowstone with his daughter, listening to live music, fly fishing the Gallatin River, traveling, swimming (anywhere he could find), surfing in California, or tinkering with his vehicles. Following a lengthy hospital stay, Erik passed away on April 10, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Because Erik loved the outdoors so much, he was committed to preserving the environment, especially in Montana. He was involved with many of the wilderness associations in the area and helped to create wilderness areas around the state. The great outdoors and his daughter Hannah were the two things he loved most in life. He was the most involved dad he could have been. When Hannah was hardly walking he made sure he got her on a pair of skis; this led to many years of him as a devoted parent taking her to ski competitions around the state and country. He was there to support and encourage her in any way possible, happy just to see her succeed in life. His caring love for Hannah could be felt from across the country.
Erik was born on March 31, 1952, in San Francisco, California, and was the son of Arthur and Marilyn (Scott) Olsen. In 1956 the family moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he spent much of his childhood. It was in Green Bay that Erik developed his passion for skiing. He was only four years old when he skied for the first time.
After some time in Wisconsin, the family moved to Pennsylvania where he lived until he was a junior in high school. The family returned to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970 just in time for his senior year at Saratoga High School. He played soccer and enjoyed "road racing" fast cars with his buddies as well as surfing. He attended college in California and Utah before completing his undergraduate studies in Political Science at Montana State University in Bozeman.
After college, he found his permanent home in Bozeman because the mountains of Montana had captured his heart. Although he was wholeheartedly and actively involved in environmental politics for years, he worked primarily in the construction industry. Erik enjoyed renovation projects and was passionate about the renovation of his house on 10th street, which is believed to be the old log cabin where John Bozeman once lived. Seeking a change, and interested in learning something new, he eventually pursued a career in real estate. He thoroughly enjoyed his new direction and was very good at it.
In the late 1980s, Erik was told his kidneys were failing due to an autoimmune disease. Erik's kidney's failed in 1996 and for 20 years he was dependent on receiving kidney dialysis treatments three times a week. For a guy as active as he was, kidney failure completely changed life as he knew it. Despite having these medical problems Erik totally defied the odds and never let his health define him, or limit how he lived his life. Although some days were difficult, he consistently rose above these challenges and continued to maintain an active lifestyle.
His father, Arthur Johan Olsen, predeceased him in 2003. In addition to his daughter, Hannah, Erik is survived by his mother, Marilyn Neale Olsen; his sister, Kristin (Olsen) Minot, two nephews; John and Patrick Minot; and a niece, Katherine (Minot) Serratore.
A Celebration of Erik's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, 2016, at the E Free Church 1701 S. 19th Ave, Bozeman, MT. After the service, friends and family are invited to the park in Valley West Subdivision (West side of Bozeman on Clifden Dr.) for an informal potluck style gathering.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Montana Wilderness Association, a program which he supported and loved, 80 South Warren St., Helena 59601.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 10, 2016