October 18, 1922 – April 20, 2019
Capt. Olav Aune, 96
Distinguished master mariner whose deep-sea career began on the Allied transatlantic convoys in World War II
Captain Olav Aune died on April 20, 2019 while residing at Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center following a period of brief illness. He was 96. Though a longtime resident on Staten Island, Capt. Aune was born in Leka, Norway, where he grew up and attended high school. Although born in Norway, he was in every other way a member of what Tom Brokaw called the "Greatest Generation," having lived through both the Depression (in Europe) and endured six years of war (World War II). Prior to the start of the war, and while still a teenager, Capt. Aune began his maritime career sailing as a deckhand aboard local fishing vessels and coastal freighters out of economic necessity and limited job opportunities. During the early years of World War II, he worked as a seaman aboard various merchant ships engaged in convoy runs across the Atlantic Ocean. After graduating from an accelerated ship officer training program in England, he then served as a merchant navy officer for the remainder of the war. As Norway was an occupied country for much of the war, he sailed as a krigsseiler (war sailor) aboard Norwegian ships participating in the convoy runs across the North Atlantic in support of the Allied war effort. Of historical note, he is a survivor of the renowned Convoy HX-84 battle occurring on Nov. 5, 1940, involving the British escort vessel HMS Jervis Bay and German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, wherein his ship (S.S. Cetus), along with several others, survived the attack because of the sacrifice made by the escort vessel. Following the war, Capt. Aune returned to Norway and enrolled in (Ship) Master School in Oslo, Norway, where he obtained his Norwegian merchant mariner’s license. He then commenced a lifelong career at sea as a ship’s officer, rising through the ranks from third mate to master while sailing aboard various combination passenger-cargo freighters operated by the prominent Norwegian shipping firm - Leif Hoegh A/S - for the next eight years. During that period he circumnavigated the world several times over. However, as a result of growing disenchantment with aspects of life in Norway, and aspiring for better career opportunities elsewhere, Capt. Aune immigrated to the United States in the mid-1950s. He continued his career as a merchant mariner serving aboard American vessels but only after a period of having to prove himself in his adopted country. As part of this experience, he initially sailed in lower positions and/or as an observer while pursuing his American merchant mariner qualifications. After acquiring his master license, Capt. Aune sailed as master aboard a variety of ships, including ore carriers, tankers, cement carriers, training vessels and spy ships for the next five decades. Among the marine transportation companies he worked for are: United States Gypsum, Spentonbush/Redstar Companies, Eklof Marine Corp., Marquette Cement, Amerada Hess Oil, Seattle Maritime Academy and U.S. Marine Management. Capt. Aune retired as a master mariner with 48 pilotage endorsements on his license and kept his master license active 'til the age of 93. Quite a feat! Consequently, he belongs to a rather exclusive “club” by being among the few master mariners to retain an active U.S. Coast Guard license for as long as he did. Partly out of boredom with retirement, and partly because of his desire to remain active, Capt. Aune continued to sail professionally on a sporadic basis while “retired,” with him last filling an official billet aboard ship at the age of 88. Shortly after taking up residence in the United States he met his future wife on a blind date arranged by her manager, who had once been his superior officer during World War II. Following marriage, Capt. Aune settled down with his wife in the Shore Acres section of Staten Island, N.Y., and raised two children. He was a dedicated and loving father and spouse. Capt. Aune, the son of the late Hartvig and Ragna Aune, was the loving husband for 58 years of Liv Aune. She predeceased him by passing away in 2016. He was also the beloved father of Bjorn and Vigdis. He leaves three sisters, Aud, Vigdis and Birgit, and one brother, Inge, along with 28 nieces and nephews.
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Sunday, April 28, 2019
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December 21, 2019
In 1999, I was given command of my first ship with Maersk Line, Limited. I received an message from the office that a new second mate was joining our crew. When I met Ole, I asked him if he felt he was up to live on a ship at his age - then 79 years old. He immediately dropped to the deck and started doing push-ups. Needless to say, he continued to impress everyone on the crew every day. He became a good friend. God bless to all of the Aune family.
April 27, 2019
I’m so sorry for your loss. I met Captain a short time ago at Eger. He sure will be missed. Rest In Peace Captain.
Reverend Liz & Mr. David Wold
April 26, 2019
Our special friend Captain Olav Aune has crossed over. We are blessed for having known him. He is with God, at peace, at home. Please pray for his family left behind who journey with sadness on a new life path. Captain Aune was a Krigsseiler- (War Sailor) a member of the Norwegian Merchant Marine Navy during World War II. He sailed on convoy ships that protected and supplied allied battleships and troops wherever they were needed. We will miss his beautiful, kind smile and quiet, strong presence. Go well friend.