Michael G. Olsen

INDIAN RIVER, Mich. – Michael G. Olsen, 65, of Indian River, Mich., died Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, Mich.

Mike, aka Squirrel and Einar, was born Jan. 5, 1949. He was raised in St. Ignace and Escanaba. The most joyous time of his childhood was spent living with his dad, Orville Olsen, and his grandparents, Einar and Nettie Olsen, on their farm in Escanaba.

Three days after graduating high school in Escanaba, Mike received his seaman’s card from his uncle, Captain Ray McGrath, and became a coal passer on the Chief Wawatam out of St. Ignace. Mike was drafted into the U.S. Army in the spring of 1968. He served two tours in Vietnam in the 25th Infantry, where he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Military Service Award.

After returning home from Vietnam, Mike worked at the Penn-Dixie Cement Plant in Petoskey until its closing in 1981. Many people from the plant may remember Mike’s “one man strike.” After Penn-Dixie, Mike worked for a time at Dura in East Jordan before returning to work the freighters on the Great Lakes, which was the job he loved the most. Heart complications prevented him from continuing work on the freighters at the young age of 46.

Mike is survived by the love of his life and partner for 27 years, Laura M. Standen; his cats, Ted E. Bear and Mitzi May; siblings, Katherine Grondin of St. Ignace, Susan Aprill of Afton, Debbie McGrath of Sault Ste. Marie, Patty McGrath of Flint and James McGrath of Kinross, and their children. Mike is also survived by his partner’s family, Jack and Irene Standen of Kalkaska, Paul and Lisa Standen of Kalkaska, Amy and Dave Gurski of Elwell; and nephews, Robert Standen and Jack Lesinger, who were very special and precious to him.

People who knew Mike would say he enjoyed life and lived it to the best of his ability. They enjoyed his honesty and sense of humor.

The funeral service for Mike will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at Zion Lutheran Church in Petoskey, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. The Rev. Matthew Peters will officiate at the service. A luncheon will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the VFW National Home for Children, Straits Area Hospice or Hospice of Little Traverse Bay.

Family and friends are welcome to share memories or offer condolences online at www.stonefuneralhomeinc.com.