Bill Mattison and Olaf Harken. Olaf visited the Mattison Circus back in 2011.  Photo: Don Sanford

UPDATED ON 22 OCTOBER: 
Olaf’s Funeral Service
Date: Saturday, October 26, 2019
Time: Visitation 11 AM
Service 2  PM
Location: Galilee Lutheran Church
N24W26430 Crestview Dr,
Pewaukee, WI     Map
Reception to follow at Harken 

Olaf Harken passed away this morning, October 21, 2019. Olaf “did the hard work” according to brother Peter and that hard work had a monumental influence on ice sailing, not to mention soft water sailing. Olaf raced a Nite class iceboat. In his autobiography, Olaf described ice boating as “Our favorite, if not our most frustrating sport, …iceboating: a combination of race-car driving and sailing.” The ice sailing community sends our condolences to the Harken family and Harken employees. Fair winds, Olaf.

Following is cut and pasted from the Harken Facebook page:

Today we remember Olaf Harken. Olaf passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning with loved ones nearby.

This morning in Pewaukee, Peter Harken told an assembly of Harken members: “My brother did all the hard work so I could have all the fun. During the days when the company was just getting going, Olaf was in charge of the money. He kept us in business. If I had been in charge of that we would have been in big trouble. His legacy is in this culture. So, let’s just keep doing what we do. Just keep getting better. You are a great family. Thanks a lot. He’ll be watching you, so no sloughing off!”

The brothers took a lot of chances over the years – and their employees are still encouraged to do the same. When Olaf Harken was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2014 along with Peter, he explained the brothers’ business philosophy: “When trying new stuff our rule is to ask, ‘if it all goes bad, can we survive?’ Then we go to the bar and forget what we just said and do it anyway!”

The Harken story has been full of twists, turns, successes, and reinventions, but through it all, the goal of challenging the status quo and commitment to being at the front remains.

We encourage you to share your memories of Olaf with us. Feel free to leave a comment here or send us a message.

2011 Nite Class group photo. Olaf Harken is third from the left, back row.  Photo: Don Sanford.

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