Erling Orsen Oswald

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005

Former Juneau resident Erling Orsen Oswald, 80, died April 7, 2005, in Bremerton, Wash., of cancer.

He was born Nov. 24, 1924, in Juneau, where he lived until he graduated from high school. He fished commercially with his father, Peter Oswald, later becoming a partner in his own fishing boat and finally buying a fishing boat of his own.

He studied at San Jose College and the University of Washington. In 1944, he graduated from Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in Kingston, N.Y. He then received his commission to the Navy and served on the USS Trego. He fought in World War II in the Pacific as a gunnery officer.

While awaiting discharge from the Navy, he met Beverly Poffenroth. A year later they married and most recently celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary.

At age 30, he and Beverly moved to Hawaii so he could join the Pacific Oceanic Fisheries Institute in Honolulu.

He was soon recruited by the FAO, one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations headquartered in Rome, Italy. Throughout his career he created and ran large- and small-scale fisheries projects in Sudan, Ecuador, Jamaica, Korea, Western Samoa and the Philippines. Throughout this time he was headquartered in Rome with his family.

At age 57, he retired after 27 years with the United Nations. During that time, he took a one-year leave of absence to serve as the director of fisheries for Sealaska Corp. Following retirement, he did fisheries consulting work, primarily in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

He loved to golf, and was especially proud of two documented holes in one. He was formerly a member of the Juneau Elks club, Juneau Golf Club and Lakeland Village Golf Club. He and his wife enjoyed golfing vacations.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Marie Orsen, and his father, Peter Oswald.

He is survived by his wife Beverly; son Michael and his wife Jaki; grandson Forrest; sister Marietta and her husband Fred; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Interment will be held in a private ceremony. A remembrance ceremony will be held at 2 p.m., April 14, at Miller Woodlawn Funeral Home in Bremerton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fred Hutchinson Center for Cancer Research in Seattle. The family may be contacted at P.O. Box 1217, Allyn, Wash., 98524.

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