Olsen promoted to ambassador to china

You could say that retiring Bremerton City Council member Wayne Olsen is trading fragile egos for fragile China.

Citing the Council’s once intense in-fighting with Mayor Lynn Horton, Olsen did not seek reelection and will conclude his time on the council Dec. 27 when former Mayor Glenn Jarstad is sworn in as his replacement.

Olsen will now devote much of his time as board chairman of the Shelley China Club, a national organization whose purpose is to preserve Shelley brand fine china.

He has been on the Bremerton city council since 1997, and was vice-president in 2000. Olsen decided to retire from the council about the middle of this year at a council meeting. He said all the bickering, which lasted from November 2000 to March 2001, made him decide the Council was not an organization “he wanted to belong to.”

District 2 Council member Cecil McConnell said Olsen was a good councilman who dived into the issues.

“I hate to see him go, truthfully,” said McConnell. “It’ll be different (without him), whether that’s good or bad we’re going to have to see.”

Olsen said he thinks all the new candidates that ran for the Council this year ran because of the rift that existed between the council and Horton.

“The council has a lot of new members with far reaching thoughts,” said Olsen. “We’re going to see changes for the better for Bremerton.”

For now, the only changes Olsen will be managing are the changes in his Shelly China collection.

“Buy low and sell high” Olsen said about his hobby.

As board chairman of the Shelley China Club, Olsen is setting up a national conference for the club in Renton in 2003.

The club began about 10 years ago. According to Olsen, Shelley sold their factory about 45 years ago, making it increasingly harder to find the china. His job as board chairman is to set policy and budget for the club.

Olsen said he got interested in antiques when he and his wife, Ethel, were on a trip with his sister-in-law, Sandy Wheller, who stopped at every other antique store on the way. He said he and his wife decided to try it and realized it was a fun thing to do.

Olsen said his most interesting piece of Shelley China is a Dainty Black cup and saucer set, which he bought for $55. He looked it up on E-Bay, the Internet auction company, and found another set like his selling for $1,326.

“Those are the finds that all of us antique collectors love,” said Olsen. “When we buy real low and sell real high.” He admitted that sometimes it turns out to be the opposite.

Meanwhile, Olsen has been a part of many other organizations besides the council, during his lifetime in Bremerton, including the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee, the Bremerton Central Lions Club – where he was president from 1999 to 2000 — and the Armed Forces Committee.

Olsen was also a Fire District No. 15 volunteer fireman for five years and later a district fire commissioner for 24 years. As a commissioner Olsen was partly responsible for starting a paramedic service in the Tracyton/North Perry area and for the building of the $800,000 main fire station located at the corner of Fairgrounds Road and Old Military Road.

Olsen, 65, was born in the Bremerton area and has lived here most of his life. He has a son, David, and a daughter, Debby Schroedle.

“(After city council) I will find another project that will help the community,” said Olsen. “The community has given a lot to my family and we owe it back.”

Olsens always into heavy metal

Wayne Olsen is also retired from Olsen’s Sheet Metal, a family business since 1928.

Olsen’s parents, Arthur (deceased) and Glendora, started the business, now located at 813 Sixth Street next to John L. Scott. Olsen started working there when he was about 20 years old. He took it over when his father retired and has now given it to his son David.

They do sheet metal work on gutters, specialty parts and car parts, which at one time included parts for Ford’s Model T. Olsen said his father even built what would now be considered a hotrod from the ground up.

“The cars are older than I am, and I’m 65,” said Olsen.

The business, which now has only the one employee, at one time had 12 people working there when they were contracting out to school districts and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

Olsen said he thinks the most interesting thing his dad ever fixed for someone was a still. He said his father never knew it was a still because the man would never bring all of it in.

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