July 25, 2013
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Kenneth LeRoy Olson was born in Hale, Wisconsin on August 18, 1922 to Hanna and Almer Olson, one of their seven sons. They moved to Manly in 1929. Kenneth attended school until 1940, and worked at the Manly Creamery and the Lido Theatre after school hours. He married Shirley Marsh on September 1, 1940 in Osage. In 1942, Kenneth and his family, now including their two children Larry and Steve, moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he managed the Granada Theatre.
Kenneth Olson joined the Marines on December 26, 1943 and left the next day for Camp Pendleton and went into action overseas a year or so later.
On February 20, 1945, Marine Corporal Kenneth L. Olson died of wounds received in action at Iwo Jima. One mmonth later, his wife received the following telegram:
“Deeply regret to inform you that your husband, assistant cook Kenneth L. Olson USMCR died 20th February 1945 of wounds received in action at Iwo Jima Volcano Islands, in the performance of his duty and service of his country. The remains were buried at sea. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.
A. Vandergriff, Gen. U.S.M. "
Commandant of Marine Corps.
Still later, his wife received a letter from the Chaplain’s Office of the US Marines stating that “there never was anyone more highly respected and beloved” than Cpl. Olson.
He is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii. He was awarded the Purple Heart.