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Posted on September 23, 2016 | 12:28 p.m.

Svend Aage Olesen of Buellton, 1923-2016

Source: Olesen Family

Svend Aage Olesen was a tireless worker but loved family trips,
Svend Aage Olesen was a tireless worker but loved family trips.

Svend Aage Olesen, 93, passed away peacefully in his home in Buellton, California, early Sunday morning Sept. 4. He was preceded in death last year by his wife Patricia Louise (Wade), his partner in life and business for over 65 years.

Dad was born in a countryside farm in Sønder Kongerslev, Denmark,in 1923. The family then moved to Lille Arden near the large farm of his father’s, birth. Svend attended a Jutland farmer school and served in the Danish Army 1945-46.

He immigrated to the United States in 1948, at age 25, under the sponsorship of his aunt and uncle Alma and Knud Andersen. Upon arrival in America, working for Knud and Alma, Svend had a mishap with a tractor placing him in St. Francis Hospital where he first met a young nurse’s aide, Patricia (Mom), who cared for him during the extended stay.

He later worked on the Riverside Dairy (Santa Rosa Road) as well as the Petan Dairy and George Johansen Dairy. In the mid 1950s, Dad began his apprenticeship in the plastering trade with various local Danish craftsmen.

In 1954, Svend participated in the Heifer Project when he accompanied a train-load of donated cattle across America, boarding a freighter in New York City and continued the care of the animals until reaching Germany.

In 1962, Dad and Mom began their own masonry/plastering business, Svend Olesen and Son’s Masonry Inc., which spanned 6 decades. Their projects reached as far north as Camp Roberts in Monterey County; to the west, Lompoc Aquatic Center, as well as buildings on Vandenberg Air Force Base; to the south, Lake Casitas Forest Station; to the east, many projects in the Santa Ynez Valley. 

He was especially proud of the rock work at Alisal River Golf Course and the brickwork throughout Solvang.

Until his last weeks, Dad enjoyed buying and selling property, which became his avocation many years ago, besides being a farmer at heart all his life. Dad never retired. He worked tirelessly with his business and continued to find projects with his properties or helping others.

Svend enjoyed his memberships in the Solvang Danish Brotherhood, Vikings of Solvang and Dania Lodge. Until recently, he served as a trustee for the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Local #4. He had been past director (1968-69) on the board of directors for Santa Ynez Valley Hospital.

He and Mom were honored to be selected to serve as grand marshals in the annual Valley Fourth of July parade.

Though rare to pull him away from work, Dad enjoyed family camping trips to Gaviota Beach, traveling to Denmark as well as trips across the country. To celebrate his wife’s 80th birthday, he took his family on their first cruise to Alaska. A few years later, his brothers from Denmark joined him on a cruise to the Panama Canal.

Dad is survived by his children, Karen (Lynne), Brian (Laura) and Shirley (Glenn); grandchildren, Abby (Ricardo), Maggie (James), Cory (Erica), Lisa (Dustin) and Eva (Patrick); and great-grandchildren, Eden, Ajani, Ozara ,Malachy, “the little guy” Samiro and D’Artagnon.

Svend also is survived by his beloved siblings Jens-Jørgen, Hans, Ruth and Annie from (Jutland/ Sjaelland), and his cousin Erik Andersen of San Jose.  Mourning their uncle and cousin from afar are numerous nieces, nephews and cousins from Denmark and out of state.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Børge, Harry and Grethe.

The family is very appreciative and grateful for the good care Dad received by the visiting nurses during his last few months, especially from his personal assistant, Amber Whitney.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Assisted Healthcare Services, Bethania Lutheran Church, Lung Cancer Alliance and the Heifer Project International or any charitable group of your choice.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday Oct. 1 at Bethania Evangelical Lutheran Church, 603 Atterdag Road in Solvang. A reception with lunch at the Parish Hall will follow. Interment will be private at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Olesen Family.


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