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Benedict Oliver "Ben" Olson

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“Im so sorry for your loss - praying for you all ♥ ”
1 of 3 | Posted by: Lise-Lott Lindh - Fjälkinge

“Shirley & family, you are in my thoughts and prayers with deepest sympathy. Ben was such an incredible guy, always cheerful, and of course I will...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: Mike Arnum - Lancaster, MA

“God understand that losing a loved one can be difficult that is why he invites you and your family to call unto him, and he will answer thee...Read More »
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Benedict Oliver Olson, "Ben", aged 91 years, 5 months, and 23 days, of Dover, Massachusetts, passed away at Newton-Wellesley Hospital on November 22, 2017 of natural causes.

Ben was born on May 30, 1926 in Worcester, MA, to Wilhelmina and Carl Olson of Norway and Sweden respectively. He had a brother Carl, 10 years older than him, whom he looked up to tremendously. Ben spent his childhood and school years in various neighborhoods in the Worcester area, and was an honor student active in many clubs and sports. One of his jobs in these early years was as a caddy where he developed a life-long passion for golf. Ben was drafted in October 1944 into the Navy where he learned electronics and served until July of 1946. He attended Clark University and received his BA degree. He went on to get his MS in Physics at MIT which hired him at their Instrumentation Lab following graduation. During this time he met Shirley Adams and they became engaged after only two months. They were married on March 7, 1953 at the Old South Church in Boston. Three children followed: Stanley in 1955, Laurel in 1957, and Steve in 1958. They moved from Boston to Needham for a few years and eventually settled in Dover in 1962 until the present.

The Instrumentation Lab separated from MIT during the Vietnam War and became the Charles Stark Draper Lab where Ben spent his entire career except for a 3 year period at RCA. At Draper he designed guidance systems for Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident missiles, which are still using this system today. Over the course of his career he became Chief Engineer at Draper and in 1984 received the Thurlow Award for his outstanding contribution to the science of navigation. Ben was the rare individual who truly loved his career and looked forward to going to work each day.

In addition to a great career, Ben was a passionate Boston sports fan, closely following the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, & Patriots. Following open heart surgery in April 2004, his first words when he woke up was "How did the Red Sox do?"! (We all know the rest of that story- they won the World Series that year!) He competitively played golf, tennis, skiing, bowling, squash, horseshoes, checkers, bridge, pool and board games. He researched his Scandinavian roots and discovered numerous relatives including first cousins in Sweden and Norway. He made several trips to meet his relatives over the years and because of Ben relatives discovered each other who would otherwise never have known each other. He joined the Norumbega Lodge of the Sons of Norway in Newton and enjoyed many years of camaraderie with other members, and served as President in 2013. Ben bowled most Mondays in Norwood. He attended Dover Council on Aging activities as well as the Quarter Century Club of the Draper Lab.

Ben belonged to the Grace Lutheran Church in Needham for almost 50 years and served as its President multiple times. Ben recently re-joined the Dover Church where he was a member until his death.

Ben was the beloved husband of Shirley, and revered father of Stanley, Laurel, and Steve. He enjoyed spending time with his family playing sports and games and traveling. He especially loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren and spent as much time with them as possible.

Anybody who knew Ben knew he was precise, honest, charitable, dedicated, and had a great sense of humor. He enjoyed each phase of his life, and looked forward to every day. He saw the best in everyone. He made friends everywhere he went and kept them for his whole life. He recently organized and held his 73rd high school reunion. He kept in touch with friends from his school and military years. He remained in contact with his co-workers. Having lived in the same house for 55 years he was an icon in the neighborhood and made everyone welcome as they moved in. He was frequently see walking his beloved dog Suki. Ben would say he had a great life.

In addition to his wife Shirley, he is survived by sons Stanley of Dover, Steve and wife Holly of Temecula, CA; daughter Laurel Robinson and husband Timothy of Columbia, MO; his grandchildren Fawn Ledbetter and husband Jedidiah of Tulsa, OK; Rafe Olson and wife Sable of Winchester, CA; Sky Robinson of West Hollywood, CA; Kelsey Robinson of Washington, DC; Conor Olson and wife Christine of Itako, Japan. In addition Ben has 3 great grandchildren: Liam James and Brieannon Olivia Olson, and Beckett Benedict Ledbetter.

Visiting hours are Tuesday, November 28, 2017, from 4-7 PM at the Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Ave, Needham. A memorial service will be held at the Dover Church, 17 Springdale Ave, Dover, on Wednesday, November 29th at 11 am, to be followed by refreshments at the Kraft Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ben's memory to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or the charity of your choice.