Melvin A. Olson
January 20, 2010
GLOUCESTER — Melvin (Mel) August Olson died on Wednesday, Jan. 20,
2010, at the age of 94 after a short illness in Gloucester.
Mel was born on May 28, 1915, in the Pigeon Cove section of Rockport.
His parents, August Olson and Sigrid Swanson Olson immigrated from
Sweden. August was a granite carver with the quarries in Rockport. Mel
lived in Pigeon Cove and then in the south section of Rockport for 90
years, until he moved in 2005 to The Herrick House assisted living
facility in Beverly.
Mel proudly graduated from Rockport High School and Harvard College,
Class of 1936, with a BS in Chemistry. He married Elizabeth (Betty)
Cruickshank from Manchester in 1942. They had been married 60 years when
she died in 2002.
Mel enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the beginning of World War II in
1941. He rose rapidly through the ranks, and was made a commander of a
flotilla of LCT's, amphibious troop carriers. He participated in
invasions in Sicily, Salerno and Anzio, Italy. His decorations included
the Purple Heart and the Legion of Merit. He retired from the Navy with
the rank of Commander.
Mel founded the MA Olson Co. Inc. in 1961, sales engineers of
industrial process equipment. During that time, he and his other
representatives traveled extensively. The company continues to bear his
name 32 years after his retirement.
Following his retirement, he and Betty enjoyed extensive travel and
spent winters in Naples, Fla. Not one to sit idle, Mel went on to the
board of directors of the Granite Savings Bank, becoming chairman and
leading the bank through the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s. Mel
also was very active member of the Rockport Rotary Club through 2009.
Mel was a member of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club and an enthusiastic
sailor, who enjoyed day sails with friends and family. He served on the
Rockport Advisory Board in the 1950s, was a Mason and a Shriner, and was
an active, loyal member and supporter of the First Congregational Church
Mel also loved spectator sports and was an avid Red Sox and Harvard
sports fan. He was at two famous games: the 1975 World Series 6th game
when, in the 12th inning, Carlton Fiske waived his ball fair on his way
to first base, giving the Bosox a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds, in
many fans' opinion, the most electrifying game ever played. He was also
at the famous Harvard-Yale football game in 1968, when Harvard "beat"
Yale 21-21, coming from 16 points behind in the last 46 seconds of the
In addition to his late wife, Betty, Mel leaves daughter, Sigrid
Lindo; and son, Peter Olson; Sigrid's husband, Stephen of Montclair and
Rockport; and their sons, Alex and Sam; and Peter's longtime companion,
Cecelia (DD) Thomsen; and Mel's close friend from Herrick House, Julia
ARRANGEMENTS: A memorial service celebrating Mel's life will be
held at the First Congregational Church of Rockport, Monday, Jan. 25 at
11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations either to the
First Congregational Church of Rockport or the Rotary Club of Rockport
Scholarship Fund. Arrangements are by the Burgess & Mackey Funeral Home,
201 Main St., Rockport. Condolences may be sent online to