Carl Bernard Olson

Carl Bernard Olson


            CHATHAM - Carl Bernard Olson passed away peacefully on December 31, 2017 following a brief illness. He was 78.

Born in Chatham to Reliance (Howes) and Axel Olson, Carl graduated from Chatham High School in 1957 and spent the following four years serving in the US Navy. He then received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, followed by a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies degree from Wesleyan University.


            While waiting on table at the Captain’s Table in Chatham in the late ‘60s, Carl met the love of his life, Carol (Hayward), whom he married in 1970. In the first years of their marriage, Carl and Carol enjoyed riding their bicycles across Europe, raising golden retriever puppies and shellfishing in Chatham. He also enjoyed riding his bicycle from Harwich to Provincetown every Father’s Day. He and Carol had two daughters, Tracy (Chait) and Kristen (Deem), whom he loved dearly. Carl loved sharing his passion for literature and love of the water with his girls, and he was so proud to call Chatham home.


            For nearly 20 years, Carl taught high school English in Harwich, Massachusetts and was revered for his deep love and knowledge of literature, especially Shakespeare. In the early 1980s, Carl made the transition to a career in real estate, which also gave him the flexibility to be “Mr. Mom” for his family.


            In 1990 Carl founded Stage Harbor Real Estate in Chatham, and enjoyed great success as a broker until he retired at the age of 74. His decades in real estate brought many lifelong friends, and he was able to do one of the things he loved best on a daily basis: drive around Chatham, telling its stories and sharing the beauty he found around every turn.

            Carl also had a passion for cooking, Julia Child’s in particular. After hours of cooking, he was often found at the head of his dining room table, martini in hand, telling a terrific joke to those he loved. A true patriot and a great storyteller, Carl was one of a kind and touched many lives during his 78 years.


            In his later years, he perfected his recipe for quahog chowder, using clams he dug himself and became known near and far as the legendary Chowdahman. He delivered thousands of bowls of his chowder to friends and family.


            Carl also loved taking out his green wooden skiff in Stage Harbor. Family and friends will sorely miss his generous spirit, infectious laugh, and seeing him driving around the loop, often playing loud patriotic music with all the windows down.

            He is survived by his beloved wife, Carol, of 47 years, daughters Tracy Chait (Michael) and Kristen Deem (Kyle), and four grandchildren, the youngest of whom, named for his father, he met the day he died. He also leaves a sister, Anna Woodland, and a brother, Alden Olson. He was predeceased by a brother, Elmer Olson.

Burial will be private. A memorial service is planned at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Chatham for April 7 at 11am followed by a reception at the Chatham Wayside Inn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Family Pantry of Cape Cod, 133 Queen Ann Road, Harwich, MA 02645 (
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