Tony Earl Olsen, age 71, of Greeneville, passed away Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at his home. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2016. The VA and Amedisys Hospice helped him greatly in his last four months.

Tony was born on Mother’s Day, May 13, 1945, to George and Mathilda Olsen in Artesia, California. The family moved to Dike, IA in 1950. Tony graduated from Dike High School in 1963. He joined the US Navy a few days after graduation. In August of 63, he married Elaine Burdick at the Methodist Church in Reinbeck, IA. They have two children: Anton (Deb) of Greenville, TX, Anne Jeanette or AJ (Doug) Halvorsen of Parrottsville, TN; 8 grandchildren: Mike, Sean, Cassie, Hannah, Travis, Kara, JJ, and Emily; two brothers: Lee and Dale; and many friends.

Tony served his country in the United States Navy for 9 years from 1963 to 1972. He served on two destroyers and in VQ-2, a reconnaissance squadron out of Rota, Spain. He worked at Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo, IA for 23 years, and then worked at numerous other nuclear power plants around the country and Canada for years after.

There wasn’t much Tony couldn’t do if set his mind to it, from building a house, cutting down the trees, to installing the septic tank. He learned to sail and made 3 strip built kayaks. He made beautiful pottery and fine wooden furniture. He could roof a house and wire it too. He could read music and was a good singer; he played the bagpipes and learned Spanish so he could sing with the Hispanic praise band. Tony loved to hunt and fish and being in nature brought him joy. He could identify wild animal tracks and calls. He knew birds by their song and flight patterns. If he met a challenge, he would have conquered it.

Tony was a member of the Christ United Methodist Church in Greeneville, TN.  He was past president of Red Cedar Izaak Walton League in Vinton.

Tony was a good man, generous, smart, and loving. He was a good husband, father, and friend. What more can be said about someone?

There will be a graveside service on Friday, April 28th at 10 AM at Andrew Johnson National Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday, April 29th at Christ United Methodist Church from 10-11 AM, with a memorial service to be held at 11 AM. A light lunch will follow the service. Pastor Linda Bass  will officiate. and Ms Cathy Carlson will be a reader.  Thoughts and memories may be shared with the family at or cards may be sent to: Elaine Olsen, 950 Sioux Trail,  Greeneville TN 37743.  Jeffers Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.