Hjalmar "Ofi" Olson passed away early in the morning on July 2, 2015. Ofi was born on Oct. 24, 1939, at Kanakanak, to Hjalmar and Mary Olson and was the eldest of eleven children. He was a lifelong commercial salmon fisherman and an avid pilot who spent many years hunting, fishing and trapping in Bristol Bay. Ofi earned his private pilot's license in 1957, at the age of 16. He served 22 months in Germany, returning to Dillingham, Alaska, in 1961, as a proud veteran of the United States Army. In 1964, Ofi met Anuska Hansen and they married in 1968. They had three children: Kathy, Eric, and Theodore Olson and were blessed with five grandchildren: Erica Ann and Jason Kelly, Justin Dye and Erica and Erin Olson. In 1974, while living in Koliganek, Alaska, Charlie Nelson selected Ofi to represent the community on the Bristol Bay Native Corporation board. That led to four decades of distinguished service including 29 years as the board chairman. In 2009, he retired as the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board. Ofi served in many other capacities on numerous boards and commissions during a lifetime of dedication to the betterment of Bristol Bay and its people. Ofi was preceded in death by his parents, Hjalmar and Mary Olson; wife, Anuska Olson; daughter, Kathy Olson; granddaughter, Erica Ann Olson; siblings, Thomas (first born), Andrew, Eric, Lorna and Thomas (second born). He is survived by sons, Eric and Theodore; and grandchildren, Jason, Justin, Erica and Erin. Funeral services will be held in Dillingham on Aug. 1, 2015, and he will then be laid to rest next to his wife at the Kanakanak Cemetery.
Published by Anchorage Daily News on Jul. 29, 2015.