Les Olsen, longtime resident of Brookings, Oregon, passed peacefully on February 22, 2019. He was 87 years old, and had enjoyed the last two years of his life living with his son Kenny and wife Denise in rural Redmond, Oregon.
Lester was born September 13, 1931 in Ashland, Wisconsin to Edwin and Agnes (Kyster) Olsen. The family lived in rural Lincoln Township near Mason.
He and his siblings, Ed and Harriet, received their schooling in the one-room Dybedal school in Lincoln Township.
In 1950 Les entered the Airforce and served as a B29 Crew Chief during the Korean conflict. Les was very proud of his service to our country. Upon his discharge in 1953 he landed in NYC as a civilian, working in the aircraft industry. In 1954 he would find himself in the tiny coastal town of Brandon, Oregon, where he would begin his life long career in the timber industry.
There on the Oregon coast, he met and fell in love with Melba Baker, a widow with five children. They married in 1957 and his ready-made family was complete with the birth of son Kenny David in 1958.
In 1964 Les and family moved to Brookings Oregon, which would become home for most of his remaining years.
His logging career spanning over 50 years started out in the pine woods of Wisconsin as a teenager with his brother Ed, using crosscut saws to fell trees. During his early years in the Southern Oregon woods, Les pioneered many timber felling techniques that are still used and important today. The "Caring for the Land Award" was presented to him in 1990 by the US Forest Service for going above and beyond to care for the forest environment. Les was also an ardent competitor and organizer of local Logging Shows for many years. Having garnered many trophies in these competitions, he was awarded the "Bull of the Woods" in the mid 90's.
Les loved the outdoors, hunting in the woods of Oregon, fishing on the ocean with his family and friends, and covering many miles in his RV, visiting family and enjoying our nation's historical sites along the way.
Les, a stranger to no one, had a heart as big as the ocean. He took in and was "Grand-dad" to several vulnerable young people. Those who have remained closest to him over the years are: Nathan, Amanda, Derick, Hailey, and Melissa.
Visiting his son Kenny and Central Oregon in 2015, he fell in love with Whiterock Cowboy Fellowship, attending every time he would visit. On a cold November 16, 2016, Les asked to be re-baptized by Pastor Dave, making it clear that he would be living out the rest of his days as a follower of Jesus. After moving to Redmond in 2017, he rarely missed a service or bible study. His love of Jesus was seen in his smiling face, strong handshake and precious hugs that welcomed all who entered his life and the barn doors of Whiterock Cowboy Fellowship.
Les in survived by his son, Kenny and wife, Denise; daughters, Melba (Al) Seefeldt, and Barbara Jackson; sisters, Harriet (Mervin) Tody and Shirley Tart; brothers, Edwin (Marlis) Olsen and Jim (Donna) Nelson; as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
A celebration of life graveside service will be held Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Moland Lutheran Church in rural Mason, WI.