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Obituary: Martin A. Olsen Jr.

Martin A. Olsen Jr., 46, passed away at his home on Dec. 23, 2009, surrounded by his family and his dogs. Marty was born on Aug. 8, 1963, in New York City, and grew up in Sands Point. From this point, Marty went on to live his days more full of life, or perhaps larger than life, than most we know. There is so much that he did in one lifetime, but what was most poignant is how he did it, with a beaming smile and kindness in his heart. The louder his bark, the greater care and passion he had for the people around him. Whether sky-diving, ski patrolling, or sailing, Marty was always a boisterous, take-charge, loving helper and teacher.

In everything he did, he aimed to see things done in the very best manner that they could be done and backed away from no challenge. These are the themes that override his many accomplishments of life. He began from an early age sailing on LI Sound as a member of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and learned to ski at the Windham Mountain Ski Resort. Marty enjoyed a special bond with the Tunney family, sharing a brotherhood with Girard, Frank, Owen and Bryan. Marty attended Buckley Country Day School and then proudly graduated from Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in 1981, always maintaining his pride in being a part of that alumni family.

After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1986, where he first acquired the life-long name of Moose, Marty received his teaching certificate and taught mathematics at the Pine Ridge School for seven years. He simultaneously served as a member of the Vermont Army National Guard. Marty then moved on to a long career as a Chittenden County Sheriff’s Deputy, always showing kindness and respect for the citizens he worked with. In a typical Marty gesture of kindness, he once paid a woman’s cab fare from Burlington to St. Albans when she was escorted from her home into court for them only to decide she was mistakenly brought in.

Marty “Moose” offered truly legendary service as a member of the Sugarbush Ski Patrol. As a member of the National Ski Patrol, he offered instruction at yearly clinics and served as a mentor and trainer to years of green rookies. His high expectations paired with creative humor and challenges gained the respect of his students. Never afraid to face the challenges of rescuing injured skiers on the mountain, Moose would brave any conditions to serve those in need. His colleagues speak of the many people Moose helped walk away from severe injuries. Marty was a highly accomplished sailor and leader in the sailing community. As a longtime member of the Mallett’s Bay Boat Club, he proudly contributed to the lake-wide racing program chairing race committees, hosting and running regattas, and serving on crash boats. With a crew of his wife, father-in-law, and friends, Moose sailed every week on Lake Champlain, often hoisting his Moose battle flag as he sailed out to a race. In more recent years his love of boats led him to Fox Marine where he enjoyed working with a staff of mechanics.

His many friendships there meant a great deal to him during his years there. A great part of Marty’s spirit rests with Brown Ledge Camp. Generations of campers and staff members of Brown Ledge Camp will always cherish their friendship with Marty. For 17 years he volunteered his summers as the head of sailing instruction at the camp. His sense of fun in many ways epitomized the spirit of the camp. Alumni campers and staff members treasure special memories of his kindness, his positive mentoring, and his eagerness to lend a hand. As one camper relates, “Marty Olsen did not merely make an announcement at dinner, but scaled the dining hall to do it!”

Marty leaves his wife Rebecca (Dowd) Olsen of Essex, VT, and his daughter Molly; his father Martin A. Olsen Sr. and mother Gloria (Raquet) Olsen of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; and his brother Peter Thom and wife Laurelle of Lafayette, CA, and their children, Peter and Matthew. Additionally, Stephen and Nancy Dowd of Essex, VT; Sally (Dowd) and Samuel Little of East Wakefield, NH; Elizabeth Dowd and Becca Bradley of Brooklyn, and his entire extended family will miss him dearly. He enriched all of their lives.

His family would like to thank Dr. Smith, Dr. Gardner, Dr. Pipas and members of the Dartmouth Hitchcock nursing staff for their skill and dedication to Marty and his entire family. A memorial service is planned for Jan. 29 at The Timbers at Sugarbush Resort from 2 to 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Brown Ledge Camp, 25 Wilson Street, Burlington, VT 05401. To send online condolences to the family please visit www.readyfuneral.com.