June 23, 1929 ~ Jan. 8, 2020
Cecil Andrew Olsen passed away on January 8, 2020, due to complications from dementia.
When Cecil wrote this brief autobiography many years ago, he had no idea it would some day be used as part of his obituary. He was born on June 23, 1929, to Arthur and Lola (Carter) Olsen.
“I was born shortly before the start of the Great Depression in a little town in Idaho called Culdesac. About a year later my parents moved to a little farm about 6 miles N.E. of Reubens, Idaho. My first two schools were one-room schools with grades 1 through 8; however, there were only 8 or 9 students in the entire school. During my 6th grade year we moved to a ranch near Craigmont, Idaho. I graduated from high school in Craigmont and enrolled in college at Northern Idaho College in Lewiston. After my second year there the state closed the school because of a slow down in the economy. I transferred to Eastern Washington State College where I earned my BA in education. I later received an MA in education at the University of Idaho.
“In the fall of 1953 I signed a contract with the Kennewick School District to teach the 5th grade for $3600 a year (Wow!). The school was a series of old army barracks. Each barracks contained three classrooms tandum style. The wind blew almost every day and sand would pile up inside the windows. Most of the students came from a couple of nearby trailer courts and their parents were workers who followed the seasonal work. My class size ranged from 35 to 45 students. The kids were great and I enjoyed them very much! I had a chance to sign a contract with the Camas School District to teach the 6th grade the next fall. I took it!
“I married my college sweetheart, Nona Franklin, and together we raised our son, Gregory, who was born in 1959.
“Camas has been good to me. I have been able to experience various roles as an educator here. I was appointed Jr. High vice principal in 1958 and in about 1960 I was appointed Jr. High principal, a position I held until about 1969 when I was asked to go back into the classroom and teach. A few years later I was asked to again be Jr. High principal. I did that until the school changed to the Middle School concept. I then took over the Driver Ed. program in the High School and was there until I retired in July of 1984.
“I have several interests and hobbies: photography, watercolor paintings, hunting, camping, fishing, traveling, dancing, but my favorite is flying, which I started doing as soon as WWII was over. I delivered groceries to earn money to fly. I took my first lesson in October, 1945, and I was hooked! I sold my interest in my last airplane a few years after I retired because it became a very expensive hobby. I’m into carving wild waterfowl now. I take great pride in my work and have won many ribbons with my lifelike show entries.
“After I retired I met and married my wife, Connie, and we have spent 35 wonderful years together, traveling and spending winters in Arizona.
“Camas is a great place to live. I have so many fond memories of my students and so many great stories to tell. Would I do it over again? You bet!”
Cecil believed in being honest, working hard and helping others whenever he could. He was known for his wry sense of humor and his ability to fracture the English language. He loved having a good time and connecting with people.
Cecil is survived by his wife, Connie, of Washougal, WA and his son, Greg.
He requested that there be no memorial service because, as he said, “My funeral could be held in a phone booth due to the amount of people showing up.”and that he be buried next to his parents in Lewiston, Idaho, with a private graveside service at that time.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to PeaceHealth SW Hospice, P.O. Box 1600, Vancouver, WA 98668 or Alzheimers Assoc., www.alzheimers.org.
Cecil Andrew Olsen
June 23, 1929 ~ Jan. 8, 2020