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William's Story

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William R. Olsen, M.D., 85, of Frankfort, passed away June 14, 2017, due to complications from a heart attack while biking his beloved Betsie Valley Trail.
He is survived by his wife and soul mate of 67 years, Joan Jacobsen Olsen; his sons, William (Joanne) Olsen, David (Julie) Olsen; and his daughter, Kristine (Daniel) Drake. He leaves behind six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and his sister, Kristine Olsen Clark.
Bill was born in Frankfort, to William Reidal Olsen and Agnes Christine Nelson on July 11, 1931. He graduated from Frankfort High School in 1949. After graduating from Michigan State College, he continued his education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Bill received his medical degree in 1957 and completed his residency in general surgery in 1962. After serving many years as a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan Department of Surgery, he practiced at St. Joseph Mercy Health System, where he served as chief of surgery and chief of staff. He published many articles in academic journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine.
After retiring, he and his wife, Joan returned to Frankfort in 1991. In addition to being an avid sailor and skier, Bill devoted his retirement years to the community and the Betsie Valley Trail. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Betsie Valley Trail on June 28, 2003 was among one his most cherished memories.
Bill was named the Benzie County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2005, and was inducted into the Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools Hall of Fame in 2011.
Bill's family encourages friends to get out and enjoy the trail he loved so much and to consider a contribution to the William R. and Joan Olsen Endowment for the Friends of the Betsie Valley Trail or the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.
Per his wishes, family and friends are planning to gather for a celebration of his life, which will take place sometime in the fall.
Arrangements are by Jowett Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service.
Published on June 21, 2017
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