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Harold Poulsen

1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Harold Poulsen Obituary
Poulsen, Harold

1925 - 2016

Harold Poulsen, a true American entrepreneur, died in Great Falls, Montana at the age of 90 on August 21. After a brief illness, he spent his last moments in Peace Hospice surrounded by friends and family.

Harold leaves behind his wife of 53 years, Carmen; sons Randy (Dorothy) of State College, PA, Don (Ping) of Indianapolis, Mark (Gerianne) of Great Falls; stepsons Randy Robertson (Kathy) of Phoenix and Mark Robertson of Phoenix; seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and sister Elsie Byrd of Santa Fe.

Harold was born December 16, 1925, in Ringsted, Iowa, the youngest of four children of Danish immigrants Johannes (John) Poulsen and Ottlile (Tillie) Ovesen Poulsen. He grew up on his parents' dairy farm in the North Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from Albuquerque High in 1943. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II as a radar technician, Harold married Peggy Cole of Albuquerque and was employed by Sandia Corp. as a procurement officer. In that role, he was responsible for shepherding nuclear devices to the South Pacific where he witnessed several atomic tests. He was one of only seven people to witness the Eniwetok atoll blast.

Harold's true calling was as an entrepreneur. As a boy, he fixed and sold bicycles and soon graduated to selling cars; Harold was the only student in his high school to have a car. In the service, he profitably bootlegged liquor that he sold to officers. Harold left Sandia to form his own firm, CG Electronics. After selling that company to a national electronics manufacturer, he started Service Circuits to manufacture printed circuit boards. At the same time he was a partner in an early Albuquerque amusement park, "Little Beaver Town."

In 1961, Harold moved to Great Falls to join his brother Russell (Swede) Poulsen in a small roofing and insulation business, Poulsen's, Inc. Shortly after moving, he met and wed Carmen Hansard Robertson. Harold and Swede grew their Second Street lumber yard into a multi-state chain of home improvement centers, known as Thunderbird Stores. After selling that business, Harold concentrated on residential and commercial development in both Great Falls and Helena. He also developed Great Fall's first outpatient surgery center and later expanded it into a full inpatient hospital.

In addition to business activities, Harold served in the Montana Legislature as the first freshman representative ever appointed to the Appropriations Committee. Harold gave back to the community in many ways, including generous support of the University of Great Falls and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

He and Carmen traveled extensively. He was a private pilot and enjoyed hunting, western art and artifacts, and the newest fast roadster. Harold's favorite activity was finding ways of improving and beautifying his retreat on Canyon Ferry Lake and, later, on the Smith River.

Harold was noted for generosity to family and friends but always avoided the limelight. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Benefis Peace Hospice of Montana, 1101 26th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59401.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 25, 2016
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