Arild W. Olsen

Arild W. Olsen

Ari has gone through West Point in two ways, the horizontal and the prone! Involving himself with an advanced engineering design problem to evaluate the tensile strength of his sheets, Ari has logged more bag time than any other cadet. Good luck Ari whoever you were under that green girl. - Howitzer '78
- Howitzer '78
  • Gymnastics 4
  • Track 3
  • Scoutmasters Council 2,1
  • Dialectic Society 4,3
  • Theater Support Group 4,3


On January 4, 2024, Arild Walter 'Ari' Olsen, a cherished husband, father, and veteran, passed away at the age of 67 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Born into the proud Norwegian lineage of Walter and Irma Olsen in Brooklyn, New York on February 8, 1956, Arild's life was a splendid blend of duty, love, and unyielding positivity.

A valedictorian from McKee High School in Staten Island, Arild became a distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy in 1978, then embarked on a notable career as an ordinance officer in the United States Army. His early years in the service were marked by his time in Germany, where he not only served his country but also embraced the joys of fatherhood with the birth of his son, Kristian, with his first wife.

Arild's pursuit of excellence led him to Monterey, California where, under the guise of earning his master's degree at the Naval Postgraduate School, he accomplished two notable feats: charmingly winning over Melissa, his future lifelong partner, and lowering his golf handicap – achievements he would later recall with a proud and playful grin. Melissa and Arild's union brought joy and two more beautiful children into Arild's life – Erik and Brittany. Together, they embarked on an enriching journey, living in Virginia, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Alabama, and Texas, with each location weaving its own unique thread into the fabric of their family story. Arild retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel after twenty years and multiple overseas deployments, having shared a wealth of experiences and adventures with his family along the way.

Post-military life saw Arild transition into a second career with Boeing, contributing significantly to space exploration, first on the Space Shuttle project in Alabama and then with the International Space Station in Houston. He eventually retired in Michigan, spending his days with Melissa at their serene lake house on Lake Avalon.

Arild's final decade was a testament to his extraordinary spirit. Despite the health challenges he faced in his last decade, his spirit, much like his approach to a challenging golf course, remained upbeat and unbreakable. He was a beacon of joy and resilience, embodying the belief that positivity is life's most enduring force. Arild's life was a living example of the power of positivity, teaching us that maintaining a positive outlook is the most potent medicine in the face of adversity.

As the eldest sibling to Steven and Janet, Arild was a guiding force, embodying the values instilled by his parents. His life was a testament to the fusion of Norwegian tradition and American resolve.

A celebration of Arild's life is scheduled for March 30, 2024, at his sister's home in New Jersey. In lieu of flowers, donations to the West Point Association of Graduates, an organization dear to Arild, would be appreciated. Link:

He is survived by his mother, Irma; brother, Steven and wife, Lisa; sister, Janet and husband, Jimmy; wife, Melissa; son, Kristian and his wife, KC; son, Erik and his wife, Kathryn; and daughter, Brittany; and many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind three cherished grandchildren: Alessandra and Aksel, children of Erik and Kathryn, and Lukas, the son of Kristian and KC. Arild's legacy is one of strength, resilience, and unwavering optimism; a beacon for his family and all who knew him

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