Esther B. Olsen, 95, of Griggstown died peacefully on Monday, August 5, 2019 at home surrounded by her most loving family. Esther was born on April 9, 1924, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY, to Peder and Pauline Pedersen During the difficult Depression years, Esther and her sisters, Thelma and Doris, returned with Pauline to Norway for 1 ½ years, while Peder worked hard to bring them home and provide for them. In 1942, Esther graduated from Bay Ridge high School. She began work at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in NY in 1943. Esther married George Olsen in 1945, and soon moved to NJ where they were founding members of Norseville, a community of Norwegian immigrants and descendants near Princeton, NJ, that thrives in its heritage to this day. Many of her fondest memories were of her early years spent in Norseville. Her ties to Norway and family there remained strong throughout her life. She nurtured those family relationships and traditions and passed them on to her children and grandchildren. One of the greatest joys of her life was introducing her children and grandchildren to her home country of Norway where they attended family reunions 2002, 2010, and 2018.
In the early 1960s, Esther worked for Mr. Steck, whose office was, at one time, in sister Thelma’s basement! In 1964, she worked at Princeton University in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program. In 1969, she transferred to GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory) where she enjoyed working closely with graduate students, a memory she cherished. Esther retired with over 26 years of service as an administrative assistant with the Princeton University GFDL Program.
Esther was a member of Bunker Hill Lutheran Brethren Church, the church her father and other carpenters built in 17 Saturdays in 1958. She willingly served as a Sunday School Teacher, a member of Ladies Aid, and as a singer and pianist for the church choir.
In 2000, Esther became involved in the Norwegian Immigration Association Ellis Island Project where she contributed numerous photos and artifacts. This exhibit culminated with a gala on April 26, 2000, where the guests of honor were King Harold and Queen Sonja of Norway. Her enthusiasm for history led to her becoming an historian and secretary for Norseville, Inc., as well as an historian for Bunker Hill Church and a member of the Griggstown Historical Society.
Daughter of the late Peder K. and Pauline K. (Ostensen) Pedersen, wife of the late George B. “Mac” Olsen, sister of the late Thelma Langfeldt, Doris Soberg-Lileks, she will be deeply missed by her son and daughter –in-law Wayne P. and Chris Olsen; 3 daughters and 3 sons-in-law: Karen L. and Dean DeKok, Julie A. and Keith Dunham, Lori E. and Mark Sletta; 10 grandchildren and their spouses Matthew and Marit, Michael and Jillian, Melanie and Michael, Ryan and Kimberly, Jessica and Corey, Jeremy, Kristina and Leif, Josiah and Kate, John and Hannah, David and Stephanie; 14 great grandchildren, Nicole, Amanda, Sean, Hayley, Jordyn, Kaitlyn, Dylan, Ethan, Aubrey, Lila, Charlotte, Savannah, Jonah, Finn and several nieces and nephews.
Esther unconditionally loved her Lord, her Family, and her Friends, always believing that “We have it so good.”
The Service will be held 8:00 pm on Friday, August 9, 2019 at the Bunker Hill Lutheran Brethren Church 235 Bunker Hill Road, Princeton, NJ.
Visitation will be held from 5:30 p.m. until the time of the service at the church.
A Celebration of Esther’s Life will be held at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at the church. Family and friends may visit from 9:00 am until the time of the service.
Burial will follow in the Griggstown Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests memorial contributions be made to Bunker Hill Lutheran Brethren Church, (designated to reroofing and residing project) 235 Bunker Hill Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
Arrangements are under the direction of the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.