Jerry Olsen, also known as “Jerry from the Bamboo”, passed away peacefully, at home, on Monday, June 19th, 2017, surrounded by his children and loving wife, Marty.
Jerry had an enigmatic, energetic, and charismatic persona that was larger than life. His magnetic personality coupled with his clever ingenuity (along with the saint-like patience of his wife, Marty), led to their successful 30-year run as owners of the Bamboo Bar. Jerry was constantly devising clever campaigns to keep the business interesting and fun. The annual boatsinker, winter volleyball tournaments, ice-golfing tournaments, and indoor beach parties are just a few of the notable events that Jerry brought to the area. One of his most time-tested contributions to local society included the invention of the Summer Hummer.
Jerry was known as the “resident expert” of Shawano Lake. Local news stations regularly tapped him to provide fishing reports and lake condition updates. His expert knowledge of the lake led to him being deputized by the Shawano County Sheriff’s department from 1975-1990 to assist the department with emergency lake rescues. Marty and Jerry founded the Shawano Ski Sharks in 1976. The Shawano Ski Sharks celebrated their 40th anniversary in the summer of 2016. In 1975, Jerry was also one of several local business owners who started the Shawano Lake fireworks. Jerry was a founding member of the Shawano Ducks Unlimited and the Shawano County Snowmobile association. Jerry was a proud member of the Shawano Lake Lions Club for more than 25 years.
Jerry had an eccentric and wonderful sense of humor and could pull out some impressive tongue twisters upon request. Jerry would always greet everyone with a “Good Mornin’!” (even if it was the middle of the night) and a great big hug. Jerry’s heart was as big as his personality; he was always willing to help those who were down on their luck.
Jerry requested that his memorial service provide a setting for his friends and family to celebrate his life, rather than mourn his loss. A Celebration of Life party has been scheduled for July 8th, 2017, at the Bamboo Bar, on the south shore of Shawano Lake, from 1pm – 4pm. Please bring your best memories to share and ample room in your belly to toast this amazing man. In lieu of flowers, Jerry requests that donations be made in his honor to the Shawano Lake Lions Club, The Shawano Ski Sharks, or ThedaCare Friends of Hospice – Shawano.
The Olsen family is profoundly thankful for the services provided by ThedaCare Hospice as well as the outpouring of support that we have received from the Shawano community, our friends, and our family.
Jerry was born in 1943 to Elaine and LaVern Olsen, both of whom preceded him in death.
Jerry is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marty Olsen, their son and daughters, Brad (Jill) Olsen, Ericka (Sam) Koss, and Melissa Olsen; six grand-children, Zoe Koss, Zach Olsen, Brandon Olsen, Henry Moore, Isaac Moore and Amelia Koss and his brother Mike Olsen. He is survived by brothers and sisters in-law, Kathie (Bill) Piontek, Dan (Jane) Herlache, Jean (Dave) Klaus, Scott (Cheryl) Herlache, Jim Daly and many nieces and nephews.