Mel Olsen passes away

The following was contributed by Marlene Wisuri, chairperson of the Sami Siida of North America:

The Sami Siida of North American was saddened by the death of Mel Olsen on October 23, 2007, after a long struggle with cancer. Mel was one of the founding editors of Árran and frequently wrote articles about Sami history and culture. He was also the editor of Nord Norge and a founder of Lappmarklag.

Mel was born to George and Harriet (Judson) Olsen in 1938 in Spooner, WI. He began his teaching career at the Bruce Middle School and later taught at the University of Wisconsin-Superior for over 38 years, serving for a number of years as head of the University’s Visual Arts Department. He escorted groups of students to Scandinavia to study art and history. He also spent time in Turkey participating in archeological activities and studying Turkish textiles.

Mel will be remembered as an artist, historian, writer, teacher, and friend. His love of animals was enjoyed with his flocks of birds and his deerhounds. He is survived by sisters Marilyn (Steve) Liker; Margaret (Steve) Markgren; a brother, Mick (Londa) Olsen; 8 nephews; 2 nieces; many great-nephews and nieces; and many other close friends from the Siida and University communities who will miss him greatly.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, November 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spooner, WI.

Read more:
Mel Olsen in memory

Photos: Mel in 1975. Mel at Siidastallan in Marquette, Michigan 2005.



Blogger xavijohn said...

Sorry to hear of Mel's passing. He gave so much of himself to so many. His Sami-related work is quite unquantifiable.

Sympathies to family and friends.

John E. Xavier

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give my condolences to the family and friends of this impressionable man. He will be remembered.


12:23 AM  

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