Darrell Raymond "Freight Train" Olson died in Seward on Friday, Dec. 15, 2000. His death, from a heart attack, was attributed to "too much fun." He was 43.
Two potlatches will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, one at the Motherlode Lodge in Palmer and the other at DJ's Wheelhouse in Seward. Friends and family are encouraged to bring a dish, a story, a picture and a musical instrument. His ashes will be buried in Flat, Alaska, this summer.
Mr. Olson was born Oct. 2, 1957, in Minnesota. At 7, he was on a swim team, he played football and hockey. He loved an adventure, camping, fishing and the outdoors. At age 16 he moved to Alaska with his father.
During his lifetime he traveled widely and pursued many interests and vocations. He was a pilot, miner, trapper, tugboat captain, carpenter, catskinner, mechanic and even dabbled in dog mushing.
In 1977 he acquired a homestead in Flat, where he mined and ran a trapline on Bonanza Creek.
"He was a respected member of the mining community and he could always be counted on to lend a helping hand," family and friends said. "Freight Train packed an awful lot of living into his lifetime, like a nova he was almost larger than life. Built like an ox, his feats of strength are legendary.
"He traveled, worked and made friends from Nantucket to Hawaii and north to Barrow. He loved a party, a poker or a dice game or a group of friends sharing a drink. He had a heart as large as Alaska and he was loved by all that knew him," family and friends added.
Mr. Olson lived in various communities in Alaska, among them Seward, Homer, Kodiak, Nome, McGrath and the Matanuska Valley.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond C. and Darlene J. Olson; nephew, Jason Weisinger; and companion, "Freebird."
Mr. Olson is survived by sisters Laura Daniells of Davis, Calif., Linda Estrada and Pamela Calcagno both of Battle Ground, Wash.; Freebird's daughter, Rainbow, who he loved as his own; "son," Zachary; nieces Lisa, Amanda and Kelly; nephews Christopher, Nicholas and Erik.
Arrangements were made by Anchorage Funeral Home.
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