September 16, 1924—February 22, 2017
Long-time Wyoming contractor Robert N. “Bob” Olsen, known for his love of airplanes, construction cranes and hand-crafted milk shakes, died Feb. 22 in Casper. He was 92.
Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.
The son of Norwegian immigrants, Olsen’s career spanned six decades. His company built the Buffalo Tri-Level and dozens of other highway bridges. An avid pilot, he flew single-engine Cessnas well into his 80s.
Olsen was born in Mount Vernon, Washington on Sept. 16, 1924, to Jens and Anna H. Olsen. He graduated from Natrona County High School in 1941, earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho in 1947 and taught engineering at Michigan State University from 1947 through 1949.
He then returned to Casper to work for Rognstad-Olsen Construction Co. – the company his father co-founded – and went out on his own with Lobo, Inc., in 1968.
Olsen met Katherine Louise Keisling during a spring blizzard in Highland, Wyoming, in May 1950. They were married July 30, 1950, raised three daughters and a son, were active in Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and civic affairs. Olsen served on the Wyoming Air Resources Council and the Casper Planning Commission, was president of the Associated General Contractors of Wyoming in 1971, received the group’s Charles M. Smith Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service in 1974 and was selected as contractor of the year in 2003.
Olsen was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Katherine in 1999; his brother, Art in 2014; and his brother, Hal in 2016. His second wife, Fern, died in September 2016.
Survivors include his children with Katherine: three daughters, Carol Moler of Cheyenne, Judy Ellis of Casper and Astri Olsen of Oslo, Norway, and son, Ken Olsen of Portland, Ore.; sister, Evelyn Williams of Minneapolis; four grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Robert N. Olsen Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund at the University of Idaho or Central Wyoming Hospice in Casper.