Dale E. Olsen
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Dale E. Olsen

Dale E. Olsen aka Grandpa’s Flying Machine passed away at the age of 82 in his beloved town of Ferndale on February 24, 2009. He was born at the family home on Brown Street in Ferndale on March 27, 1926, to CJ “Bud” and Irma Goble-Olsen. Dale was a direct descendant of the Goble Families, early settlers of the Eel River Valley.

Dad was preceded in death by his parents Bud and Irma Olsen, his daughter Daleen Schelldorf and brothers Ray, Melvin and Ivan.

Dale went to grammar school and high school in Ferndale and some of his fondest memories where of him playing basketball and baseball for the school team and racing his brother’s home at lunch and after school. Dale enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17, he served on the battle ship USS North Carolina as an anti-aircraft gunner and is credited with shooting down Kamikaze and zero airplanes. He was in 7 major battles in the South Pacific and was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Ribbon- 6 stars, American Campaign Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon - 2 stars and the Victory Medal of World War II.

After the war Dad worked at Friedbach Market and Shears Market before going to Fortuna Veneer then Pacific Lumber Company in Scotia. He finished up his work career as a self-employed carpenter. Dad was proud of being a Native Son and was a 18 year member of AA.

Dad lived to play Baseball. He played on the “Old Scotia League” and traveled to play other teams in Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity Counties. Eventually the Humboldt Classics team was formed and he played his last game at the age of 81. He always played as the left-handed first baseman.

Dad was part of the Kinetic Sculpture race that started on Main Street in Ferndale 39 years ago. His first machine was a kite. Later it evolved into “Grandpa’s Flying Machine.” So he became known to hundreds of fans as “Grandpa”. He was also a hunter, making many trips to Modoc County and Rangely, Colorado, and he always had a great story about the big one that got away. He bagged his last buck in September 2008 at the age of 81 with a lot of help from Doug.

He had also belonged to the Fortuna Bowling League and had played golf for many years. Dad also loved to dance and many times had the “younger ladies” waiting for their turn to dance with him.

Dale leaves behind daughters Sharon Luttrell and her spouse Tom Robertson of Anderson. Marleen Nylander of Fortuna. Brother Bob Olsen of Fortuna, sister Dona Mendes of Ferndale. Sisters in law Donna Olsen of Fortuna and Ann Olsen of Palo Cedro; numerous nieces and nephews; 5 grandchildren, Melanie, Monica, Rachel, Stephanie and Russel. 8 great grandchildren, Jace, twins Nicole and Cory, Zoey and Sabel, Salvador, Isabelle and 1 month old Leah.

The family would like to acknowledge Doug Campbell for his exceptional care. Doug was not only his caregiver, but was his friend, companion and hunting partner.

There will be a visitation for Dale on Friday February 27, 2009, from 2:00 P.M. - 7:30 P.M. at Goble’s Fortuna Mortuary. Services will be held at the Ferndale Veterans Building on Main Street, Ferndale on Saturday February 28, 2009, at 1:00 P.M.

For those wishing to make a donation in Dale’s name the family asks that they be made to Hospice of Humboldt, 2010 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, CA 95501 or to the Ferndale High School Football Program, 1231 Main Street, Ferndale, CA 95536.

Please sign the guestbook online at www.times-standard.com, click on obituaries.


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Times-Standard on Feb. 26, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
March 7, 2009
I’ll miss you, Grampa!! And just to let you know, we are retiring your number, #113. I am so glad we honored you last year with our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. I know how proud you were and you truly deserved it!! You were and always will be a remarkable guy, a legend and a free spirit. I am honored to have known you and called you friend. Oh, and Duane, last year was his 37th race at the ripe old age of 82 (at least that is what he said and who would ever think of questioning Grampa). I’ll have a “beverage” at the Palace at the Finish Line on Monday, May 25th, just as the Finish Line closes at 4:37 pm. Kisses to ya, Jen-O
Jenette Kane
March 4, 2009
My heartfelt sympathy to Dale's family. My memory of Dale was him playing first (left handed) for Scotia Lumberjacks at the Scotia ball park. He was so well coordinated; that he looked like a ballet dancer catching the ball for an out; and making a follow-up throw. And as for his military service during WW II he is a member of the Greatest Generation and a bone fide HERO. Dale RIP; and we all owe you so much for your contributions. Roger Barisdale
Roger Barisdale
March 3, 2009
My husband, John French, was the manager for the local Sr. Softball team sponsored by the Eureka Moose Lodge; he also managed one of the two teams from Eureka, that play in the Oregon Tournament League. At one time or another Dale played on both of these teams. Occasionally, Dale rode in our car when we made the trip up into Oregon for the different tournaments. Since Dale usually had the back seat of our car all to himself, he liked to get comfortable during the ride. Getting comfortable meant NOT wearing his seatbelt. I would remind him that John could get stopped and ticketed by the police if someone in the car was not wearing their seatbelt. This made little impression on Dale, he would just say, "Don't worry, if John Boy gets a ticket, I'll pay the fine."
The second memory also involves traveling to Oregon. It can get quite HOT during the summer in Oregon, John would turn on the car's air-conditioning AND Dale would roll down the windows! We woud say, "Dale the air-conditioner is on." Dale would reply that he didn't like air-conditioning. So John took to using the "Child Safety Lock" which prevents anyone but the driver from rolling down any of the windows! Dale kept telling John that the mechanism for rolling down the windows was broken...John never told him any different.
I am certain John was waiting at the Pearly Gates for Dale. He now has his first baseman.
I'm sorry I was unable to bring myself to stand and recount these memories of Dale at his funeral service. It has only been 5 months since John died and it is still very painful for me. My condolences go out to all of Dale's family and friends.
Minerva (Mrs. John) French
February 28, 2009
Marleen, and Family,
My depest sympathy in Dale's departure of this life. His enthusism was a joy to share and behold. I first met him when we bowled together with Dale in Fortuna some forty years ago. God bless and comfort all of those Dale leaves behind. May his Flying Machine become a part of the Kinetic Museum!!! Love and Prayers,
Doris M. Osburn
February 28, 2009
Thanks for teaching me how to make coffee and showing me the way. You will be missed.
Tim B
February 27, 2009
Grandpa will be forever remembered come time for the KINETIC RACE. We will miss his presence in Ferndale.
David Trutalli
February 27, 2009
Dale was a wonderful teammate on the Moose, and an inspiration to all of us with his indomitable spirit on the softball field, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and everywhere else. It was a privilege to have known him.
Paul Ehrlich
February 27, 2009
Marlene & Family, I first met your father about 30 years ago during a Kinetic Race. It was a pure delight to see "Grandpa" each Memorial Day Weekend riding on his sculpture; as he was loving every minute of it.

I have had the pleasure over the years to dance with your father and oh what a dancer.

Myself as well as our community will greatly miss your father, a very kind friend to all. May God Bless All Of You.
Donna Strong
February 27, 2009
Please accept ours deepest sympathies
Jim & Sharon Ruff
February 27, 2009
Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
Dale lived and great life and will
be missed by the community.
Ruben Segura and family
February 27, 2009
I will miss my racing and dancing buddy
Jack Alderson
February 26, 2009
Dale, I've only known you for a short time last year, but found you to be a wonderful man.
Julie Van Devere
February 26, 2009
Dale was the true spirit of the Kinetic Race...it was all for fun!

Grandpa, you will be missed by many and thought of with great fondness.
Karen Pingitore
February 26, 2009
Dale was our first baseman on our Moose softball team for around 8 years. It was so thrilling to see him scoop up & ball for that important out on first. He rarely missed a throw no matter how bad it was thrown to him. He could also hit that left handed ball right where he wanted it . He was also on our travel softball team. Not many men can play softball at his age, & we honor him for that dedication.
Johnnie & Mary Avila
February 26, 2009
Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Wally Niebel
February 26, 2009
My deepest condolances to Dale's family. He definitly was a Ferndale icon. A very friendly, nice guy.
Launi McCombs
February 26, 2009
sorry to hear of dales passing. he was a good friend , and I always looked forward to playing in the old-timers game with him, for the scotia-lumberjacks
bob mccormick
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