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August 23, 2009

Friends die. It's a fact and we know it's going to happen sooner or later. But, it's never easy to accept. I've recorded several deaths in this journal. Nevertheless, the passing of Ed Olson on August 15 brings it home to me in a special way.

Our friendship had two phases. The first began on February 5, 1954 when we huddled together with Ed Fox on Alaska's Kesugi Ridge after being dumped from a disintegrating Air Force C-47. That bonding experience continued during our hospital stay. Then, we went our separate ways for many years.

The second phase began in 1996 when the six survivors of the C-47 crash decided to get together for a reunion. That led to other reunions, visits, and unbroken communication with the survivors bonding in a more mature and meaningful way.

I wrote in this journal last fall about the trip to Elkader that Millie and I took to visit with the Olsons. I'm glad we made that trip, for it was the last time we would see Ed. His health declined all this spring and summer. Millie and I were in West Virginia visiting relatives when Melissa, Ed's daughter informed us of his death. We drove to Elkader again, this time to attend a celebration of his life.

Ed Olson's life was one of service. The people of Elkader, Iowa turned out to show their love and appreciation. Millie summed it up pretty well when she said, "Ed made good use of his second chance."



I thought some of you would want to see the following:


Order of Celebration - Life of Edward William Olson-page 1

Order of Celebration - Life of Edward William Olson-page 2


Posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 12:38PM by Registered CommenterRupert Pratt | Comments2 Comments

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Reader Comments (2)

Thanks for coming back to Elkader to help celebrate Ed's life, Mr. Pratt. It meant a lot seeing you at the funeral, although I did not get the chance to say hello.

My wife and I read your book this year and thought it was wonderful. We also really enjoyed attending your lecture at the Elkader Library last year, especially seeing the back-and-forth between you and Ed.
August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryce Durbin

Thanks for your letter. I should have recognized you in the crowd at Ed's service, but there were so many faces ... and Millie and I were tired from traveling. As long as I live (and afterward, too,) I will be grateful that we visited with the Olson's last September. We had quality time together, not only at the public gathering at the library, but while the four of us toured the area together. Ed and I even had time to watch a football game on TV. We had some serious conversation during that time. We have kept in touch all the time since 1996, either through email or telephone. I will miss that.

Take care,

August 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRupert Pratt

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