Leonard Peter Olsen was born on July 7, 1939 to Torkel and Ruth Olsen. He and his family lived in Nine Mile, a few miles outside Spokane, Washington. My Dad died of brain cancer in February 2010. He was the youngest of seven kids.
After graduating from Mead High School in Spokane, my Dad served his country in the U.S. Army. Upon return form post-war Korea, he attended Eastern Washington University where he met my Mom. They were married for 43 years.
Dad worked for 26 years for GTE of the Northwest as an engineer. He was an active member of the South Everett Lions Club, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, and a dedicated and avid Everett Mall walker. My Dad was extremely proud of his Norwegian heritage. In fact, he still has family who lives in Norway.
He had a love/hate relationship for golf. I remember him trying to teach me how to play. We were at the driving range in South Everett and he was teaching me how to properly swing a golf club. I had a very hard time trying to convert from a baseball swing to a golf swing. As it became relatively apparent that I had no true athletic ability to play golf, my Dad never got frustrated with me.
My Dad taught me how to chess. When I got older, he was shocked how well I could play. However, there was one game in which he was incredibly skilled in playing…the card game cribbage. I never won a single game playing my Dad.
When he was younger, played for hours with his good friend Bill Monen. No matter if Mom and Dad went to Spokane to visit Bill and his wife in or they came over to visit here, there was always a deck of cards and a glass of scotch waiting. I’d like to think my Dad and Bill are in heaven trying to solve the world’s problems drinking scotch and playing cribbage.
My Dad always had a great sense of humor and a friendly smile for everyone he met. My Dad had this unique quality…he had friends wherever he went. At his memorial service, there were many people who attended that my Mom never met. Everyone my Dad met liked and respected him. NOONE had anything negative to say about my Dad.
Former Brooklyn Dodger 2nd Baseman Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
My father would not want us to mourn his passing, but to celebrate the awesome life he led. He was a great friend, an awesome father, and a true gentleman. He will always be my mentor and my hero.
I miss you Dad.
I wish you were here.
I love you.