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B.G. Olson


1929 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
B.G. Olson Obituary
B.G. Olson, longtime Fairbanks resident, died April 16, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with his children at his side. He was 84.
Remembered by his family as a much-loved husband and father, B.G. also was a teacher, writer, publisher, college president and an activist in community and statewide affairs, beginning with the Alaska statehood movement in the 1950s.
He was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on June 15, 1929, son of Marion Franklin "Frank" Olson and Emma (McDonald) Olson.
B.G. grew up in Kansas, graduated from Wichita East High School in 1947, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Wichita State University in 1951. While a student, he performed with big bands as a guitar and bass player, and was editor of the Attica (Kansas) Independent newspaper. B.G. was inducted into the
U.S. Army in 1952. In the Army, he was an undercover investigator in the Counter Intelligence Corps, where one of his assignments was to investigate UFO sightings. 
He met Lois Wedderien, of Baltimore, in 1952 while stationed in nearby Washington, D.C., and they were married in Tacoma, Washington, in 1953. In 1955 after his Army discharge, they moved to Alaska, where they lived most of their lives together.
B.G. and Lois had three children: Marc, born in 1956, Tamara, in 1958 and Tim in 1963.
B.G.'s first job in Alaska was as editor for Alaska Sportsman Magazine in Ketchikan, where he also had a morning radio show. With a partner,
B.G. and Lois soon bought the Juneau Independent newspaper, and they ran the business in 1957 and 1958. During this time B.G. reported on the Alaska Constitutional Convention in Fairbanks, where he made professional contacts and friendships that lasted a lifetime. With the passage of statehood, convention president and Alaska's first governor, Bill Egan, offered B.G. a job coordinating State Civil Defense projects, which B.G. held until moving to Seattle in 1961.
B.G. completed a master's degree at the University of Washington and returned to Fairbanks in 1964 to work in the University Relations department at the University of Alaska, where President William R. Wood assigned him to start up and oversee the University of Alaska Press. B. G. also contributed to planning the 1967 Alaska Purchase Centennial celebration. During the Fairbanks flood that year, he worked long hours to help the several thousand refugees who were housed on campus, and at one point used his official station wagon as an ambulance to carry the sick and injured to the campus clinic.
In 1967, the Olson family moved Outside. B.G. was President of William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri, worked at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and in 1970 moved the family to Coral Gables, Florida, where he helped found Florida International University. While in Florida he attended the University of Miami Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1974.
In 1974, the family returned to Fairbanks, where B.G. became a professor in the department of journalism and broadcasting and hosted public affairs programs on KUAC-TV. He retired in 1979, started The Olson Associates, a public affairs research and consulting firm, and became involved with Epicenter Press, where eventually he was chairman of the board. He served many years on the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission and the Alaska History Commission. B.G. split his time between Alaska and Florida for two years while serving as director of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.
When Lois was offered work in the Pribilof Islands, they moved to Saint Paul, and lived there for several years. When she retired, they moved to Sitka. In 2010, B.G. and Lois moved to live near their daughter, Tamara, in Florida.
B.G. was a longtime member of Rotary International and Pioneers of Alaska. He loved books and reading, and enjoyed playing guitar and ukulele, walking, fishing, bird watching, beaches and the outdoors. Over the years, the Olson's owned summer cabins at Manley and Chena Hot Springs, and a vacation home on Captiva Island, Florida. In their later years, B.G. and Lois made long winter visits to Molokai, Hawaii.
B.G. was preceded in death by Lois, who passed away in 2012. He is survived by son, Marc Olson, of Juneau and Merida, Mexico; daughter and son-in-law, Tamara and Jeff Burton, of Jupiter, Florida; son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Heidi Olson, of Juneau; granddaughter, Brittany Burton, of Denver, Colorado; grandson, Tyler Burton, of Nederland, Colorado; brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Beverley Olson, of Sultan, Washington; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Josephine and Robert K. Nead, of Lutherville, Maryland, and many nieces and nephews.
The Olson family may be contacted at P. O. Box 23022, Juneau, AK 99802, or by email at: marc_olson@
hotmail.com.
Published in Daily News-Miner on May 22, 2014
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