Albert Norman Olsen -- a.k.a Big Al, Ole, Grandpa Ole -- passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 15, 2020. He was 84 years old. Appropriately, "Big Al" had a laugh that was larger than life, and quite often found his own jokes funnier than anyone else did.
Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1935 to Maybell and Albert, soon after moved to Chatham, New Jersey where he became a lifelong resident of the state. He graduated from Lehigh University in 3 years class of 1957 and spent summers with the Merchant Marines. While at Lehigh he was both his class Treasurer and the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity Treasurer. In 1958, Al married the love of his life, Barbara Betty Ficken (Babs) and were married for almost 52 years, she predeceased him in 2010.
Big Al began his career at Price Waterhouse, then left in 1961 to found his own accounting firm, Olsen & Thompson P.A., still a thriving business in the Bernardsville/Morristown area. In '61 they welcomed their first child, Elizabeth Marie Olsen (Betsy). Then had two sons, Peter and Jonathan. The young family moved to Walnut Hill Farm in Tewksbury in 1969.They remained there for the rest of their lives, with Al not only running his Accounting business but also living the life of a true "gentleman farmer”. Al & Babs were renowned for hosting huge celebrations like the O&T company picnic, the Races after party, and a wonderful annual Christmas Party.
Al was an involved member of the community. A member of the Bernardsville Rotary for over 50 years, serving as both Treasurer and President and a Paul Harris Fellow. He also served on the Board of Millington Savings Bank for 30 years and served as Chairman for 10 of those years. He was a member of The Morristown Club, where he served as both President and Treasurer, and was an active board member of The Midland School for many years. He also served on the Bernardsville Township Committee before moving to Tewksbury.
Al is survived by daughter Betsy Olsen of Peapack, NJ, son Peter Olsen, daughter-in-law Deb of Oldwick, NJ and grandsons Tyler, Jack, and Bobby, son Jonathan Olsen, daughter-in-law Stephanie of Tewksbury, NJ and granddaughters Lauren, Kirsten, and Meghan. Surviving family also includes his brother Donald and wife Pat, nephew Glenn wife Laurie and niece Kristen.
Al was thrilled that Peter, Jonathan, Stephanie, and two of his grandchildren (Kirsten and Bobby) all followed his legacy to Lehigh. One of his favorite pastimes was to return to Lehigh to cheer on the wrestling team, which he did up until 2019.
The family plans to honor Al's life on what would have been his 85th birthday in May. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, www.alzfdn.org.
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