Cdr. Bruce H. “Swede” Ohlson , USNR Ret. K7UAL
After a brief struggle with illness, Bruce “Swede” Hjalmar Ohlson took his last flight west for his final check on February 4, 2012. Bruce faced his final days with dignity and serenity.
Bruce was born on April 23, 1931 in Huntington, West Virginia. He grew up there experiencing all the usual lessons of childhood. Bruce enlisted in the US Navy, then took the opportunity to attend flight school courtesy of Uncle Sam. He was commissioned as an Ensign and assigned as a member of VP- 4 as a plane commander. This was an exceptional group of young men who flew anti-submarine patrols on 2 tours of the Far East. This group of young men, flying government supplied airplanes, had a very good time (probably too good of a time) and continue to hold regular reunions through the years. Bruce continued to serve his country in the United States Naval Reserve, finally retiring with the rank of Commander. After stepping down from Active Duty, Bruce worked briefly for Mohawk Airlines, then accepted a job flying for United Airlines. He flew for United for more than 36 years, retiring as a very senior Captain. Bruce always enjoyed flying large airplanes, and ended up flying 747’s to Europe, the Far East and South America. If United had a larger Airplane in its fleet, Bruce would have flown it. He was an exceptionally competent pilot, and walked away from every landing he ever made. Passengers for United Airlines were in very good hands when Bruce was in the cockpit. After his retirement from UAL, Bruce indulged his passion for Amateur radio. His ham shack had every conceivable band of radio in it, and if there had been an amateur radio operator on Mars, Bruce would have found a way to broadcast to him, as the nest of radio antennas in his yard would attest to. Bruce was a member of the Washoe County search and rescue team, helping to coordinate their communications from a mobile radio shack.
Bruce was married twice. He found the love of his life Diane Ohlson and married her on August 24, 1981. They stayed together for the duration of his life. Bruce raised 3 children.
Bruce was a man who was always there. If someone needed help he could be counted on to assist. If there was a meeting or a group to get organized, he would be in the thick of it. If he said he would be at one place at a specific time, he would be there. You could rely on Bruce to do his dead level best at anything he attempted. A day “loafing” with Bruce would exhaust a lesser person. He was a member of a select group of men that was taught to be as good as their word, and he expected that from everyone in his circle. Bruce was an achiever who led an exemplary life. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. Bruce is survived by his wife of thirty years Diane, of Reno, Nevada, his sister Sylvia of Virginia Beach, Virginia, his son Dana (Nancy) Ohlson of Grand Junction, Colorado, his daughter Kristin Ohlson Melnikoff (Harry) of Collbran Colorado, his daughter Tracy Hoobyar (Phil) of Reno Nevada and 6 grandchildren, Lauren, Amber, Daniel , Hannah, Brandon and Cody.
There will be a celebration of Bruce’s life at the family’s home in South Reno on Saturday, March 3, at 4 pm. Please call <Omited by VP-4 Association> for information and the address. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Bruce’s name.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on February 19, 2012