By Lennette Ronnegard 

George Julius Olsen was born in Cordova to Tatiana and Pete Olsen on May 1, 1930. He grew up in Cordova with nine siblings: Carl, Pete, Harry, Marie, Jim Edward, Margaret, Gilbert and Jerry. 

At the age of 8 years old George gave his heart to Jesus, a decision he never wavered from. After a delay from a bout of tuberculosis he graduated from Cordova High School in 1950. His early years following high school were spent commercial fishing. In 1954 he met and married Leona Allen.  George and Leona’s first “date” was to a revival meeting at a local church where Leona led by her future husband gave her heart to the Lord. Together they raised two girls, LaRue and Lennette. Their youngest child, son George Allen Olsen died as an infant.  

After high school he traveled to Canada to attend Millar Memorial Bible Institute where he studied the word of God and made lifelong friends. He fished until the 1964 earthquake, shortly after going to work for the Alaska State Department of Transportation, first in engineering then in maintenance. It was there he met his lifelong friend, John Wilson. He was an avid hunter and would often tease John about his lucky hunting hat. 

Always of service, he faithfully played the accordion in church, at weekly hospital services, traveling to Cape Yakataga with the pastor for services and of course in the back of a pick-up truck with the church youth out Christmas caroling. He served as a Sunday School teacher for the 3rd and 4th grade class for years before being promoted to Adult Class Sunday School teacher. 

At the age of 48 George got his private pilot’s license. He and Leona worked after hours and weekends cleaning carpets to finance his flying lessons. They began flying to the village of Tatitlek, where Leona grew up, to spread the good news of Jesus. Flying there weekly George would teach the adults and Leona would teach the children. They bought a house, which they eventually converted into the Village Gospel Chapel with the help of a mission group from Iowa, and another house to live in spending a number of years traveling back and forth between Tatitlek and Cordova. 


He lived his life for Jesus, always willing to share his faith and pray with anyone who would let him. Aside from his faith his greatest joy was his family encouraging and teaching his children and grandchildren and always praying for them every day. He was a loving family man and friend. He and Leona enjoyed many hours and vacations with their long-time friends Dale and Janet Sandstrom and Curt and Shirley Dawson. In his later years he lamented that he couldn’t do more, but continued to share his faith with everyone around him.  

George is survived by his wife Leona, daughter Lennette, grandchildren Seana, Erik and Steffan and great grandchildren Silas, Alethia, Ameliah, George, and Dahliah. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 4:00 p.m. at the Little Chapel.