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Oliver Albert Strand

Forestburg, SD

1937, 793, Hill City, F-9 Member

July 30, 1916 - December 25, 2011

Oliver A. Strand died in Wheat Ridge on Christmas Day, 2011, at age 95. He was born of Norwegian heritage in 1916 in Forestburg, SD, the youngest of four children. When Oliver was four, his father was accidentally killed and hard times began. He quit school after his sophomore year to help support his family, worked on area farms, and later recalled how they harvested grain using a steam thresher. When he was 18 he joined the South Dakota Civilian Conservation Corps. Pay was $25 and $20 of that went home to mother.

After a year, he moved to Colorado and was trained to drive heavy equipment for Atchinson Construction Co. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served as a Military Policeman in Montana. During this time he married and had a son.

Back in Colorado in 1945, he resumed building and widening roads, including the Million Dollar Highway near Silverton, where he served as a powder monkey, carrying 45-pound packs of powder up the cliffs. He built dams for lakes on Grand Mesa and roads for exploring for uranium. He worked in Nebraska after the Blizzard of '49, clearing roads as well as paths to haystacks so starving cattle could get food.

In 1960 his work brought him and his son, Wayne, to Wheat Ridge. He married real-estate woman Emily Gilbert in December 1960 and they invested in property and managed apartments. The couple traveled extensively in the United States and overseas. After retirement, Oliver became a skilled gardener and built a much-used greenhouse. He enjoyed bridge, golf, and dancing with Emily, especially at the Trocadero Ballroom at Elitch Gardens. She died in 1998.

Oliver is survived by son Wayne Strand, Tucson, AZ; nieces Jarby (Georgia) Blackmun, Chanhassen, MN; Alice Rumery, Kearney, NE; Carol Waits, Arvada; Nancy Peterson, Centennial, cousin Wally Burrill, Forestburg, SD, and numerous great nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife Emily, parents Theodore and Lena Strand, brother Raymond Strand, sister Nettie Blackmun, and sister Bernice Strand.

A Memorial Service is planned for Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12PM at Crown Hill Mortuary Chapel, 7777 West 29th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033.

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