Carl Fredrick Olesen
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Carl Fredrick Olesen
  • November 9, 1922 - December 7, 2016
  • Palisade, Colorado

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Martin Mortuary

550 North Ave
Grand Junction, CO 81501
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CARL F. OLESEN, PALISADE
World War II veteran Carl F. Olesen passed away in his Palisade home on December 7, 2016, the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor. His son Brian and daughter-in-law Judith were by his bedside. Carl was born in Gypsum, Colorado, November 9, 1922, to immigrants Christian Olesen and Ida Beate Rakvaag Olesen. He was the eldest of three sons. When Carl was a child, the family moved to Denver, where Carl attended West High School. Moving to California, he worked building airplanes for North American Aviation, which later became Boeing, in Inglewood, California. Enlisting in the Navy in June of 1942, he completed courses in aviation engines, gunnery, and navigation, and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands where he helped defend the islands from Japanese takeover. In early June of 1942, the Japanese targeted the Aleutians, conducting air strikes on Dutch Harbor, site of two American military bases, and established military bases at Kiska Island and Attu Island. During the war, Carl flew on the PBY-5 Catalina flying boats of PatWing Four Airdales, which served as long-range reconnaissance aircraft, night bombers, and on air-rescue missions. He completed four night photo-reconnaissance and bombing missions over Japan - "The Empire Night Express" - as a member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Bombing Squadron VB-139. He survived two plane crashes during his service. He was the sole survivor of one accident, and one of three survivors of the second in Casco Cove, Massacre Bay, in March of 1944. He rescued the other two survivors by throwing them out of the cockpit, the only piece of the aircraft that remained after the crash, ahead of him. They were rescued by a P.T. Boat. He married Margie Mae Morris July 29, 1944. Carl was discharged from the Navy December 20, 1945 as an Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate First Class. Following his service in World War II, Carl and Margie returned to Denver where they had three sons. Carl worked alongside his father in their cabinetmaking and upholstery shop. He re-enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in January of 1948, serving until September 1952 when he was honorably discharged. Carl was a life-long learner and teacher. He received his Certificate of Apprenticeship in Upholstering from the Colorado State Board for Vocational Education in 1950, identifying him as "an artisan of the highest order, a master of the craft - a true journeyman." In 1952, he earned his High School Equivalency Diploma from the Emily Griffith Opportunity School in Denver. In 1962, when he was 46-years-old, he returned to school and earned a Bachelor's degree in secondary vocational-technical education from Colorado State University. He then taught in high schools around Colorado for 12 years. From 1998 until his passing, Carl was the master mechanic and general jack-of-all-trades on his son's two organic fruit farms. In November, when he celebrated his 94th birthday, he could be seen around Palisade on his ATV. He is remembered by his son and daughter-in-law; brother Kenneth (Marilee); sister-in-law Jean; grandchildren Chad and Clint; great-grandchildren Mariah and Leah; step-grandchild Nathan (Ashley); nieces Cretia and Jan (Jerry); nephew David; and his dearly loved next-door neighbors 10-year-old Ayden (aka "monkeyanic"), whom he taught mechanics, and 12-year-old Jillian; and his adopted family of Leticia, Marisa, Adriana, and Manuel. Carl is predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Margie; sons John Christian (Chris) and Robert Alan, brother Robert, grandchild Chris, and parents Christian and Ida Beate.
A memorial service will be held in the spring. Contributions may be made in Carl Olesen's honor and memory to HopeWest, Grand Junction, whose outstanding Hospice staff provided caring support to Carl's family.

Arrangements under the direction of Martin Mortuary, Grand Junction, CO.