Per goes back more than thirty years, maybe even to forty. We were casual friends, he living in NC, me living in Massachusetts. His being a half generation older meant we competed on different courses as well. Per was involved in orienteering at a national and even international level, my involvement was with a few local Boston-area clubs. I left orienteering from 1984-1991, formative years for the sport.
Wherever there was an O meet on the eastern seaboard, it was likely Per would be there. He’d come in a rented car, stay at a motel, socialize and be gone. In those days, he was working for Ciba-Geigy in an environment affairs directorship position and living in North Carolina but his work demanded travel.
In later years, he lived in New Hampshire which became my state as well. At one time, I worked in New London and visited him at his home there. At some point in time, also long ago, Beth and I (with Jim and Mil Plant of NEOC) visited Per and Eva at their beloved blueberry farm in Maine.
A few years ago, I learned from his son Per Olla that Per was in assisted living in Concord, right next door to us. I visited him on several occasions the second half of 2018 and the first part of 2019. I would usually take O maps and related magazines and photographs to engage his memory. On my last few visits, he didn’t know who I was but on one when I showed him the WOC ’93 map and related old photos, he lit up. It was a particularly nice visit, reminiscing about mutual orienteering history Per didn’t really recall but had a feeling for, enough so that it brought tears to his eyes, on which he commented.
The last time I went, Per looked at me with no sign of recognition. “Memorabilia”
It could be said ‘Heaven’ is the woods, with map and compass for guidance.
"See you in the woods, Per".