David Olsen ’59, trustee emeritus of Bowdoin, died November 14, 2009, in Salisbury, Conn., after a lifelong dedication to his profession, philanthropy, and public service.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 29, 1937, and prepared for college at Bronxville High School. At Bowdoin, he was a member of Psi Upsilon Fraternity. Following his graduation he began his successful career in the insurance business with the Great American Insurance Company. He joined the insurance firm of Johnson & Higgins in 1966 as an account executive in the marine department, and was promoted to executive vice president in 1985. He became president and chief operating officer in 1987, chief executive officer in 1990, and served as chairman from 1991 to 1997. He became vice-chair and a board member at Marsh & McLennan Companies when they merged with Johnson & Higgins. He also served
as a first lieutenant in the Army and Army Reserves. He generously shared his time and expertise with a variety of organizations, including the United States Council for International Business, U.S. Trust Corporation, the American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, the Insurance Institute of America, the South Street Seaport Museum, the United Way of NYC, the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service, the Salisbury Visiting Nurses Agency, the Salisbury Congregational Church, The Northwest Center for Family Services, and the Salisbury Housing Trust. He also devoted years of service to Bowdoin, as an overseer from 1986 to 1996 and a trustee from 1996 to 2003. On the occasion of his 50th college reunion, he, his wife, and their children established the Olsen Family Fund – Center for the Common Good. He is survived by his wife Roberta Garverick, whom he married on May 11, 1963; son Bradford Olsen ’89; daughter Amy Hess; and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister, Barbara Olsen Rockefeller.