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Richard Louis (Buddy) Olsen Jr.(1925 - 2013)

Richard (Buddy) Louis Olsen Jr., 87

St. Cloud

November 11, 1925 ~ February 28, 2013

Buddy Olsen passed away peacefully in St. Cloud, MN on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 with his family by his side. Requiem Eucharist will be on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 12:00 noon, at St. John's Episcopal Church, St. Cloud, MN with Father John Jankowski officiating. Visitation will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 4:00 to 7:00PM at Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home, St. Cloud, MN, and one hour prior to the services at the church on Wednesday. A private interment will be held this spring at Oak Grove Cemetery in Brunswick, GA.

Buddy was born in Brunswick, GA on November 11, 1925 to Richard and Marie (Morrison) Olsen. He was raised on Sapelo Island, a remote (yet pristine) barrier island off the Georgia coast. Buddy often said it was the 10 miles of water between him and civilization (along with his Scandinavian heritage and sea-faring father) that led him into the sea as a life-long profession.

In 1943, he graduated from Glynn Academy in Brunswick, GA, and received an appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. Due to WWII, his cadet midshipman training was aboard US merchant vessels delivering supplies and armaments in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. After graduating the Academy in 1946, he continued to follow the sea, achieving an unlimited Coast Guard Master's License. He became a commissioned officer in the US Navy in 1955. While stationed in Miami, Florida, he met and later married Barbara Ann Hood on January 19, 1955. During his 21 year career in the Navy, he graduated from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California and served in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Following his retirement from the Navy as a Commander in 1975, he again pursued a nautical career, working as a Maritime Surveyor for the National Cargo Bureau, Norfolk, VA until retirement in 1986.

Buddy was a brave and positive man, always kind, modest and selfless. He was known for his constant honesty, his great sense of humor, and devotion to family. His grandsons were a source of unending delight to him and he encouraged and supported their passions in sports, music, theater, and especially canoeing. At the age of 75, he embarked on a solo canoe adventure down the Mississippi beginning at its source in Itasca, MN. For the next 5 months he enjoyed a Huck Finn existence traveling downriver to Cape Girardeau, MO, where the onset of winter put the completion of his journey on hold. He spent the upcoming summers canoeing with his family on the Sauk River. He especially enjoyed canoeing from St. Cloud to Minneapolis via the St. Anthony's locks, and would encourage everyone to get out and paddle, anywhere, anyway.

Buddy was a devout Christian and a devoted Episcopalian, serving as a vestry member and participating in Cursillo. He was a fifty year Mason. He occupied many hours of his time in retirement to volunteer activities, assisting at church, the Seaman's Home, the Salvation Army, and the Veteran's Administration.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Barbara Hood Olsen of St. Cloud, MN, his daughter and son-in-law, Janice and Albert Hammond of St. Cloud, MN; two grandsons, Brett of Mankato, MN; and Alex of Appleton, WI; sister, Mrs. Kay Olsen Carrier (Buddy C) of Charlotte, NC; and brother Mr. Mickey Olsen of Darien, GA; and many nephews, nieces, and very good friends, Olaf H. (Bubba) Olsen Jr. of St. Simons Island, GA.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Lewis of St. Simons Island, GA and the Panama Canal Zone; and brother, Mr. Jack Olsen Sr. of Darien, GA and sister-in-law Mrs. Margaret Olsen.

Memorials are preferred to the Salvation Army, the St. John's Boys' Choir, St. Benedict's Senior Community, or the preferred .

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Published in the St. Cloud Times on Mar. 10, 2013
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