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James Herman Olsen

September 3, 1924 - August 15, 2016

James H. Olsen, 91, passed away peacefully August 15, 2016 among family members, Ruth, Bill, and Kristel in Newberg, Ore. He was born September 3, 1924 in Westgate, Iowa to Jens and Marie Olsen, the fifth of six children.

Jim grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. After graduating from Sumner High School, he headed west in an old Model T with his brother, Bob. They worked for the Los Padres National Forest in California. Jim was soon drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a glider mechanic in England and France. After the war he traveled extensively, riding an Indian Motorcycle picking up odd jobs including on the Pacific Crest Trail.

He moved back to Iowa, graduating from Upper Iowa University with a degree in biology in 1952. That same year, he married June Marie Pierce. Heading west in the fall, pulling a travel trailer with his new Oldsmobile, they worked their way up the coast from San Diego with odd jobs and applications pending, Jim finally found the work he really wanted on a fish hatchery along the Hood River with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In five years, he was promoted to assistant manager at the Rock Creek hatchery on the North Umpqua. By 1965, he became the manager of the Butte Falls fish hatchery where he remained until retirement in 1985. Even as a young boy he knew he wanted a job in wildlife conservation in the west. At his retirement he could sincerely say, "This job was a dream come true."

Jim and June retired to Talent, Ore. until June passed away in 2002.

Jim married Elva Mae Gardner in Medford, Ore. where they resided on Easy Street for nearly a decade. After Elva Mae’s death, he moved to Brookdale Senior Living in Ashland to be near family. During this time he meet June Brunell, his devoted companion during his last years.

Jim loved to scuba dive in the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers, collecting fishing lures and sinkers. He enjoyed motorcycling and traveled through 44 states including Alaska. He was a member of Saint Peter Lutheran Church, the Disabled Veterans of America, and the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

Jim, a veteran, a hiker, crabber, strong worker, fisherman, scuba diver, author, hunter of bargains, explorer, storyteller, conservationist, a patron of all-you-can-eat dining, a man with a big smile, a good heart and always a good word, a man of the forest, a man we all will miss.

Jim is survived by his two sons, Jim (Jr) of Ashland, Eric Olsen and wife, Patty of Elk Grove, Calif.; five grandchildren, Alicia (Olsen) Endicott, Kristel Olsen, Jeff Olsen, Nicole Olsen, and Luke Olsen; and three great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held at 1:00 p.m. September 10, 2016 at Grace Lutheran Church in Ashland, Ore. An interment ceremony will be held at 9:00 a.m. September 12, 2016 at Eagle Point National Cemetery, Eagle Point, Ore. Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Lutheran Church.

James Herman Olsen