PULLMAN, Wash. - Bertel O. "Bert" Olson, 88, of Pullman, passed away June 15, 2012, at the Belle Vista Adult Family Home in Pullman, Wash.
Bert was a long-time engineering teacher at Washington State University, from 1957 to 1982, and a member of the WSU Quarter Century Club.
He was born Oct. 15, 1923, to Minnie (Moen) and Oluf Olson in Grafton, N.D. Minnie and Oluf were parents of a large Norwegian family, which
included Gordon, Narlan, Bertel, Phillip, Adele, Millard, Eulala, Flores and Lou Ann. He attended grammar and high school in Park River, N.D., graduating from high school in 1941, just in time for World War II.
Bert served in the U.S. Army until 1945 in Africa and Italy. (See Vet Friends
) After the war, Bert attended Oregon State and the North Dakota State universities, graduating with a degree in civil engineering in 1949. This was just in time to be recalled to active Army duty during the Korean War in 1950 to 1952, where he was a training officer at the Fort Belvoir Army Engineering School in Virginia.
In 1949, He met Shirley Nelson, a lovely lady from Leeds, N.D., and they were married June 11, 1950. They shared Army and other travels
together. During the next few years Cyndie, Diane, Dan and Craig were born. After a second tour of army duty, they traveled to
Alaska, where Bert worked as a civil engineer until 1955 when Shirley encouraged Bert to quit the nomad life and return to university teaching.
He returned to Oregon State University, where Bert earned an advanced degree and then accepted a job teaching civil engineering at Washington State Univesity in 1957.
Additional academic work was done at the University of Colorado, Oklahoma State University and Harvard University. Bert was a licensed engineer in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, International Society of Geotechnical Engineers, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Professional Ski Instructors Association, the American Legion, U.S. Hang Gliding Association and a member of Trinity Lutheran Church.
In addition to teaching Civil Engineering, Bert taught alpine and nordic skiing for 25 years, was president of the Pullman Men's Golf Club and participated in marathon nordic ski races in the U.S., Norway, Sweden and Australia.
Bert leaves behind his loving wife, Shirley, at the family home in Pullman; and four children. Cyndie Boe and husband, Tom; Diane Bourne and husband, Kevin; Dan Olson and wife, Nancy; and Craig Olson and wife, Joanna Powell Colbert. Also, five grandchildren, Raen Logan and husband, Sean; Lori Crumley and husband, Jerry; Jorgen Olson and wife, Missy; Jori Olson and Nik Olson; and his three great-grandchildren, Danielle, Sadie and Wade.
There will be a viewing 1-6 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at Kimball Funeral Home. Graveside services with military honors will be at
2:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, Wash. A memorial service celebrating Bert's life will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 21, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1300 NE Lybecker St., Pullman. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church.
Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman, Wash. is caring for the family. Online condolences may be sent to www.kimballfh.com
Note: To share this article, please click the orange-colored 'Share' button at the top or bottom of the page