David A. Olsen

SALISBURY­­—David A. Olsen, 71, a longtime resident of Salisbury, died Nov. 14, 2009. He was born Nov.  29, 1937.

He attended school in Bronxville, N. Y., and graduated from Bowdoin College. He served as a 1st Lt. in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves.

David began his extraordinary career in the insurance business with the Great American Insurance Company in New York City and Chicago. He joined the insurance brokerage firm of Johnson & Higgins in 1966, in the San Francisco office marine department. He also worked in the J & H Chicago and Houston offices before transferring to the New York office in 1985 as executive vice president. He became president and chief operating officer in 1987, chief executive officer in 1990 and chairman in 1991. When J & H merged with Marsh & McLellan Companies in 1997, David became vice-chair and a board member.

David’s expertise was sought by the governance of organizations large and small, including the Business Council for the U.N., U.S. Trust Corp., the American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, the College of Insurance, the South Street Seaport Museum, the United Way of New York City, Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service, Salisbury Visiting Nurses, Salisbury Congregational Church, Sharon Hospital, Northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health  and Salisbury Housing Trust. David served Bowdoin College as an overseer from 1986-1996 and trustee from 1996-2003. On the occasion of his 50th reunion at Bowdoin, David and his wife, Bobbie, and their children established the Olsen Family Fund Center for the Common Good. He leaves a remarkable legacy in the worlds of business, philanthropy and public service.

David is survived by his wife, Roberta (“Bobbieâ€�), whom he married on May 11, 1963; a son, Brad and his wife, Jeanine; a daughter, Amy Hess, and her husband, Stephen; and their three children, Daniel, Sarah and Laura. He was predeceased by his parents,  Alexander and Mabel Olsen; and his sister, Barbara Olsen Rockefeller.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. at the Salisbury Congregational Church. No flowers, please.

Memorial gifts may be made to Bowdoin College, Olsen Family Fund, 4100 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011-8432.

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