American Patriotic 10

Carroll "Ole" William Olsen

August 29, 1926 ~ April 17, 2022 (age 95)

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Carroll William (Ole) Olsen finished out his days on his 140-year-old family farm at Olex, Oregon on April 17, 2022

Carroll was born on August 29th, 1926, to Axel Neil Olsen and Elsie Grace Ries Olsen at Condon, Oregon. He lived all of his ninety-five years in Gilliam County except during the tail end of WWII and thirteen years he lived in Spokane.

Carroll attended Olex grade school where his own mother Elsie, her two brothers and sister had also attended, as well and Carroll’s two brothers, Manley, and Truman. It was during these years Carroll enjoyed following his granddad William Reis around at his grandparent’s farm in the old established city of Olex.  His grandpa would butcher calves and take them to the grocery store in Arlington and he used to watch this complete process. His dad sold meat to the local farmers before the harvest and his mom and dad sold eggs to the store at Olex plus stores in Condon and later to the restaurant in Arlington. The cream that was separated from the milk was put on the train at Arlington where it would make its way to Portland and made into butter.

While it was his mother who named him Carroll William at birth, his granddad William called him ‘Billy’ and his uncles called him ‘Doc’. Growing up between his parent’s home and his grandparent’s home, his fond memories were swimming during the Summers with his brothers, uncles and aunt and the Bethold children in Rock Creek. In the Winter they would wax their sleds,  trying every steep hill they could find. It was in the living room of his grandparents four roomed home where he enjoyed a favorite memory of listening to the radio. In his later years, his favorite activities were playing baseball, hunting, and fishing. His favorite sports teams were the Dallas Cowboys and the Portland Trail Blazers. He was an avid fan of women sports too.

As a young boy, Carroll attended the one room Methodist Church at Olex. There was no running water or electricity with an outhouse near the building. This building was later sold to Stanley Houden who later tore the church down for its lumber. Carroll’s dad worked for Ed Irby driving cat. He worked three to four years at the Condon Grain Growers at Mikkalo and later for Dick Steinke and Snell Weatherford. It was all of these jobs that he watched his dad labor at that piqued his interest in farming.

Carroll’s mother Elsie was the Olex School Clerk for many years. He grew up learning how to raise sheep for their meat and wool. Later his folks raised cattle. No doubt growing up on the family farm was a fulfilling young life for Carroll as a child. As a youngster, Carroll missed a test day at Olex, so his mom took him into Arlington where he attended school there and played both football and basketball.

Carroll’s very first job was shocking hay for Mr. Howden, earning .25 cents an hour. Following in his dad’s footsteps, his second job was at thirteen and fourteen driving combine during harvest for Herman and Dick Steinke. During the Summer of his Sophomore year, Carroll tended header for Earl Drake and helped in harvest for Ryans at their wheat ranch at Gwendolyn. In the Spring of 1942 and 1943, Carroll went to work for Newell Reed at Mikkalo and then worked at the Condon Grain Growers elevator at Mikkalo before it caught fire and burned to the ground.

Carroll’s parents, Axel and Elsie purchased the old Ries home at Olex from Ivan Gilbert in 1942. Carroll signed into active duty on September 29th, 1944, to the 79th US Naval Construction Battalion where he served at the tail end of World War II in the Navy as a Seabee.  He considered his service as the `mop up crew’. Carroll was honorably discharged as Seaman Fist Class in June of 1946.

Carroll met and dated Shirley Lorenna Carr and proposed to his then girlfriend on September 14, 1947, on her 20th birthday.  Carroll and Shirley were married on September 19th, 1948, at the Arlington Church of the Nazarene, in a ‘rainbow colored’ wedding, officiated by Reverend Twist. The newly married couple celebrated their honeymoon night at the Columbia River Gorge Hotel in Hood River, Oregon and their wedding trip consisted of a visit to Yellow Stone Park and on down to Turlock, California to visit Shirley’s sister, Helen, and her husband Frank. The couple again celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary again at the Columbia River Gorge Hotel.

Their first home together was in the bank apartments at old Arlington where Carroll was employed by Braden Bell as a truck driver and then later as a heavy equipment mechanic. The couple later purchased the old Wetherell house in the Spring of 1950.  Their oldest daughter Dianna Lee was born while they lived in this home in 1951. The following year in April of 1952, Carroll became employed by Floyd and Martha Anderson. They moved out to the Anderson ranch where they greeted their last three children, Pamela in 1954, Richard in 1956 and Vickie in 1959. It was here where Carroll picked up the nickname of Ole, given to him by his employer, Floyd Anderson.

Carroll was a member of the Elks Lodge No. 1869 in Condon, Oregon.

After the death of his wife Shirley in 2002, Carroll moved to Spokane Washington. At Spokane, in July of 2018, Carroll joined the Department of Washington Seabees that originally started in 2001 with only 14 members and has now grown to 113 members. Patrick Shaw is the Commander of Island 6, Seabees Veterans of America.  Carroll and one other fella still living, were the only two members from World War II in this group of survivors.  Both he and his fella WWII veteran used to get in the head of the line at all their gatherings because of their military status serving in WWII and Carroll did not mind being teased about being in the front lines again.  While living in Spokane, Carroll was a senior member of the local YWCA where he enjoyed exercising with other seniors.

In March of 2022, Carroll’s health began to decline, and he signed into Pioneer Memorial Health and Hospice for his home care planning that he would die on his family farm at Olex. His Hospice nurse asked him how long he had lived in the area. His reply: “Since I was knee high to a grasshopper.”

Carroll was preceded in death by his Grandparents, Nicholas William, and Lillian Drucilla Ries.  Carroll’s father, Axel Neil, died in 1975 and his mother Elsie Grace, died in 1980. Carroll was the eldest of four children. His sister Lovella F died at birth in 1928 and his two brothers that proceeded him in death were Manley Winton who died in 1997 at Washington State and Truman Stanley who died in 2002 in Washington State. His beloved wife Shirley Lorena died that same year as well and then his daughter Pamela Helen Nelsen who died in 2011.

Carroll is survived by his daughter Diana Lee Ramirez of San Antonio, Texas, his son Richard Carroll Olsen of Olex, Oregon and his youngest daughter, Vickie Lyn Olsen of Echo, Oregon. He is also survived by ten grandchildren, seventeen great grandchildren and five great great grandchildren. Happy is the man whose quiver is full.

A celebration of life and burial of ashes for Ole will be May 7th, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. at the Arlington Masonic Cemetery and a potluck to follow in the basement of the Arlington United Methodist Church at 150 Hemlock Street in Arlington, Oregon.

In leu of flowers, the family is asking that donations in Carroll’s memory be made to Pioneer Memorial Health and Hospice in Heppner, Oregon.

Please share memories of Ole with his family at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon is in care of arrangements.









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Graveside Service
May 7, 2022

1:00 PM
Arlington Cemetery
1350 Main St.
Arlington, OR 97812

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