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Arthur Arvid Olson
Lieutenant colonel, United States Army
Wisconsin State Flag
Press report: March 27, 2004

Arthur Arvid Olson, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and the first man drafted in Chicago for World War II, died in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday March 23, 2004) from surgery complications. He was 85.

"He was quite an individual. I don't think he was like anybody else," said Olson's wife, Betty. "If he had convictions about anything, they were strong."

The couple was married 56 years. They moved to Houston 10 1/2 years ago to be close to their daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren.

Olson capped off an impressive 30-year military career in 1972, when he retired from the Army while serving with the United Nations in New York. He was the Deputy Army Representative to the Military Staff.

During high school in Superior, Wisconsin, Olson was a star athlete who played on a team that twice won the Wisconsin state high school title.

Olson joined the Army in 1942 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. He was in Chicago for about two years when he was chosen as the first man in that city to be drafted for the war.

During the war, Olson served as a lieutenant and attended military intelligence school. He participated in the Normandy Invasion and Battle of the Bulge.

Olson was promoted to Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel. He served at the New Mexico Military Institute, worked in the Pentagon twice, graduated from The Army War College, and commanded the Tenth Cavalry in Korea.

After three years in the Pentagon from the 1960s to early 1970s as an Executive to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Olson was offered the option of serving in Vietnam. The move could have paved the way to becoming a General.

Family friends are invited to visitation 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the library of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons at 1010 Bering Drive. A graveside service with military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

DATE OF BIRTH: 04/16/1918
DATE OF DEATH: 03/23/2004

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson

Posted: 27 March 2004  Updated: 20 September 2004  Updated: 19 November 2005