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Russell Kenneth "Russ" Olsen
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Birth: Jan. 25, 1918
West New York
Hudson County
New Jersey, USA
Death: Apr. 20, 2013
Eugene
Lane County
Oregon, USA

Register-Guard
Eugene, Oregon
April 29, 2013


Russell Kenneth Olsen
(1918-2013)


Russell Olsen passed away in Eugene, Oregon on April 20th. Born at the dawn of the radio age, Russ installed the first television stations in Portland, Oregon (KPTV) and in Redding (KVIP) and Eureka, California.

Russ was born at home in West New York, New Jersey to Marie Novak Olsen, a homemaker, sales clerk, and milliner and Oscar Wolford Olsen, a hop buyer for a New Jersey brewery. Russ lived his childhood in nearby Irvington, New Jersey. As a teenager he and his pals made money securing the mooring ropes as dirigibles landed at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Fortunately, they were late to work the day the Hindenberg exploded, hearing of the disaster on the car radio a short time before arriving at the landing pad. Russ worked his way through college at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (now NYU-Poly) where he received his BS in electrical engineering during the Depression. During World War II, he installed radar systems at airfields in North Africa, Nova Scotia, and within the U.S. He also tracked and destroyed explosive-laden balloons sent from Japan to the West Coast of the U.S. He was a ham radio operator his entire life (KE6DJ).

Russ married Jeanne Louise Fennell in 1944. Russ and Jeanne raised their children in Ohio, Oregon and California. In Oregon, he was among the small group that started the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). "When OMSI began," he recalled, "the only exhibit we had was one stuffed fox in a tiny house where Lloyd Center is now located." He also advocated for the establishment of Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). In California he was a founding partner in Shasta Telecasting Corporation, which at different times owned the Ice Follies, the San Francisco Seals, and concessions at Yosemite and Denali National Parks.

His children Linda Fuller, Karen Williams, and Russell Kenneth Olsen II (Rusty) and their respective spouses Greg McLauchlan, Cliff Williams, and Annie Olsen survive him. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Russ's name to OMSI; 1 (800) 955-6674), or to OPB - 1 (800) 241-8123). 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Jeanne F Olsen (1919 - 2006)
 
Burial:
Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery
Eugene
Lane County
Oregon, USA
 
Created by: KarenK.
Record added: Apr 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 109050921
Russell Kenneth Russ Olsen
Added by: KarenK.
 
Russell Kenneth Russ Olsen
Added by: KarenK.
 
Russell Kenneth Russ Olsen
Cemetery Photo
Added by: David M. Habben
 
 
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