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Obituary for Edwin Carl Olsen III

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Edwin Carl Olsen III

December 20, 1932 - June 30, 2017

Edwin “Ted” Carl Olsen III, age 84, passed away peacefully at his home in Logan, Utah on June 30, 2017. Ted was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 20, 1932 to Edwin Carl Olsen, Jr. and Ina G. Streeter Komes. He married Rebeca “Becky” V. Olsen on April 4, 1981 at the Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church in Lima, Peru.
Ted graduated from Ogden High School in 1950. The following year he joined the United States Air Force and served during the Korean War from January 2, 1951 until he was honorably discharged on October 1, 1954. During his military service Ted was primarily stationed at Orlando Air Force Base in Florida. After leaving the Air Force he attended Weber State College in Ogden, Utah and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1959. From 1959-1960 he attended the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia as a Fulbright Student where he studied irrigation and water conservation methods. In 1960 he returned to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in Irrigation Science at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, Utah which he completed in 1963. That same year Ted worked in Pakistan as the Head of the Engineering Section, Regional Planning and Project Preparation, followed by a two year assignment in Vientiane, Laos, as a Water Resources Engineer to USAID.
Ted joined the Irrigation Engineering faculty as an Associate Professor at Utah State University in 1968. He taught at USU for thirty years until he retired in December of 1997. Ted was the Founding Director of the International Irrigation Center at USU where he was responsible for the design, direction, and execution of intensive short term courses, in Spanish and English, dealing with Irrigation Agriculture as well as contracting, program scheduling, and program budgeting. He owns part of the credit for establishing USU’s Irrigation Engineering programs as the best in the world.
Throughout his career, Ted served numerous oversea assignments for USU in such diverse places as India, Pakistan, Laos, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Mali. Indeed, Ted has been one of Utah State University’s most important ambassadors to the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Under his leadership and dedication to an international focus on training, there are more than 3,000 irrigation engineers in more than sixty countries that proudly display a certificate of completion from the International Irrigation Center.
In addition to his overseas assignments as an engineer Ted traveled to many other countries around the world. He used to joke about the number of countries he had visited, saying that it would be easier to list the places he hadn’t traveled to, rather than those he had.
Ted enjoyed traveling with his family and created many fond memories on trips to Palisades Reservoir in Alpine, Wyoming, where he took the family boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, snowmobiling, motorcycling, and hiking. Ted also had been an avid skier his whole life, spending his early years at Snowbasin and later teaching his children to ski at Beaver Mountain. He had a love for the outdoors and enjoyed all four seasons. Ted led a full and complete life and he will be dearly missed.
Ted is survived by his wife, Rebeca “Becky” V. Olsen and their three children, Ina Teresa (Ian) Wells, Rebeca (Cory) Jacobsen, and Christopher (Nicole) Olsen, as well as two children from a previous marriage, Edwin C. “Char” Olsen IV and Harold “Eric” R. (Nora) Olsen. He is also survived by his nine grandchildren: Ariel, Nicholas, Sabrina, Quint, Sophie, Jens, Beau, Benjamin, and Thomas; and his half-sisters Carolyn (David) Olsen and Pamela Olsen.
Ted was predeceased by his parents, Edwin Carl Olsen, Jr. and Ina G. Streeter Komes, his daughter, Tanya Ann Olsen, and his stepfather, Richard E. “Dick” Komes.
A memorial mass will be held on Friday, July 14, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Hyde Park, Utah. Private funeral services will be held at Leavitt’s Mortuary & Aultorest Memorial Park in Ogden, Utah.
Memorial contributions in honor of Edwin Carl Olsen III may be sent to the College of Engineering, Engineering Without Borders, Utah State University, 4100 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-4100, or contact Val Potter, e-mail, (435) 797-8012.
Interment at Leavitt’s Aultorest Memorial Park in Ogden, Utah.
Arrangements entrusted to Leavitt’s Mortuary.
Condolences may be sent to the family at


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Born: December 20, 1932
Died: June 30, 2017

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