In Memory of Eldon “Ole” Olin March 23, 1921 - March 27, 2014
by Sherrie Bond
I believe Eldon “Ole” Olin was born with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye and a handshake that forged an immediate friendship. I’d also bet my lunch money, he came into this world wearing a red felt crusher hat, as well.
Within the brotherhood of loggers, log truckers and timber communities coast to coast and border to border, I am confident I could count on one hand, the few people who never heard of “Ole”. Even those not personally acquainted, identified him as the artist able to interpret lives of timber workers on canvas even better than guys working in the brush could describe it. Ole’s ability to portray specific aspects of daily events and strong emotional circumstances brought his paintings to life. Anyone who “knows-the-woods” can immediately relate to the depths of their souls, the stories Ole’s paintings disclose. Each, at some time or another has been there, done that, survived a close call and lived to tell the tale. The artwork reheats old memories as they recall their years in the woods with pride.
Ole and his wife, Bunny were longtime family friends by the time I first met them some thirty years ago, while sharing a booth at the OLC. It fascinated me to watch countless numbers of loggers stopping to see Ole’s latest work and swapping a story or two. There was an immediate kinship between Ole and whoever dropped by; age was irrelevant. Older fellas would recall the glory days of high climbers, spar trees and one log loads. Young bucks, in awe of those stories, shared information about latest innovations or blushed at the ribbing of “110 log loads of pecker poles”. That same, new know-how opened an advanced way for Ole and Bunny to market their inventory by website, broadening exposure while providing access and a fresh approach to Ole’s creations year ‘round and it continues today.
Many years have flown by since then, but those precious memories linger with me. As I sit here today in my office, telling you we have suffered a tremendous loss, I barely turn my head and see that Ole is also being mourned by “my logger”; my constant companion as I work. Day in and day out he’s here without fail, but today, as he sits on his log on the landing, his lunch forgotten, head held in his hand, he’s weeping and overcome by emotion akin to my own, as if we are one. Forevermore, I will have a personal attachment to my Monday Morning logger through memories we share of Ole’s life and our sorrow and heartache in his passing.
Ole’s artwork can be viewed and purchased at http://www.eldonolin.com
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