"Kenneth M. Olson was born Feb. 25, 1917, in Red Wing, Minn. As a child, he moved with his family to Clayton, WI and he worked on the farm with his father. When he was a teen the family moved to Downsville, WI where he also worked on farms.
Ken enlisted in the U.S. Navy Sept. 21, 1940, and trained in Great Lakes, Ill., for six weeks. After graduating, he went to Seattle, WA, to serve aboard the USS Maryland. On Jan. 22 he was transferred to the Far East, Navy 7th Fleet. He served on the USS Bittern until Dec. 10, when his ship was sunk. He then served aboard the USS Tanager, which was sunk off Corregidor on May 2, 1942. After that he served Beach Defense with the 4th Marines on Corregidor and was captured as prisoner of war on May 6, 1942, when General Wainwright surrendered all forces.
Ken was in several prison camps including, Camp Corregidor, Cabanatuan, Davao and Billbid, then 62 horrible days on a prison ship before Yokkalchi, Japan from Sept. 6, 1944, until Sept. 6, 1945.
After his release, he was flown back to Oakland, California Navy Hospital. He spent the remainder of his enlistment in Shore Patrol Duty in Minneapolis and Chicago as Chief Gunners Mate. He was discharged on Nov. 15, 1946.
Following his military service, Ken worked at Hovland Sheet Metal in Eau Claire. He married Marjorie (Borchert) Hotter on Oct. 12, 1946, at Peace Lutheran Church in Menomonie. They raised two children, a son and a daughter.
Ken was a long-time and active member of Peace Lutheran Church and loved singing in the church choir. He enjoyed fixing things for anybody who needed his help. He enjoyed working with wood, his flowers, feeding the birds, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting and going to the cabin at Drummond. He also loved playing the harmonica and played for many senior citizen groups throughout the county.
He was a member of VFW Post 1039, DAV Chapter 26, American Legion Post 32, Sons of Norway, the state Chapter of the American Ex-prisoners of War and was a loyal member of the Menomonie Veterans Honor Guard.