Chad Oulson was born on September 28, 1970, in Alton, Illinois. He moved to a small town in Brown County, Illinois as a toddler, where he lived through his high school years. Chad loved monster trucks, jumping on the trampoline, and playing Little League Baseball as a child. He graduated from Brown County High School in 1989. Throughout his teenage years, he enjoyed playing the guitar, riding horses, swimming in the creek, camping, and riding four wheelers and dirt bikes.
In November of 1990, Chad enlisted in the US Navy. He attended basic training at Great Lakes, Illinois, and aviation school in Meridian, Mississippi. After training, Chad became a part of the Tophatters Squadron, the oldest active squadron in the US Navy. Chad made his home for six months on the aircraft carrier, USS John F. Kennedy CV 67, where he traveled throughout the Mediterranean Sea region. During this time, the ship made port in several cities in Italy and France.
Upon returning stateside, Chad was stationed at Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he was an Aviation Maintenance Administration man, or AZ. In 1994, he re-enlisted and was moved to Jacksonville, Florida. While in Jacksonville, he maintained his rate as an AZ and achieved the rank of Petty Officer First Class. Chad honorably served two tours in the US Navy, ending his career in 1998.
Chad was ready for his next adventure, so he started working for Citibank in Jacksonville, FL. This is where he met his future wife, Nicole Gaspard in 2003 who was also working while attending college. In 2007 they tied the knot in St. Thomas, USVI and decided to move to the west coast of FL, landing in Pasco County. They eventually built a home in Land O Lakes and welcomed their daughter, Alexis Oulson on March 10, 2012. This was the best day of his life, as she was his everything.
Chad had a larger-than-life personality. It was easy for him to talk to strangers and make friends in unlikely places. He was always helping others and putting a smile on their faces. As an adult, Chad was still passionate about dirt bikes, and you would find him at a track every weekend. He also loved boating and exploring Tampa Bay and stopping at the sandbars and local restaurants. Above all, he focused on his daughter and spending time with her. He would read her books, play dress up, take her for walks and do pretty much whatever she wanted. She had him wrapped around her little finger from day one.
On January 13, 2014, Chad’s life ended in a senseless act of gun violence. While in a movie theatre he took his last breath and left behind his wife, friends, family, and beautiful daughter who was 22 months at the time. This could have and should have been avoided and to add insult to injury the man who shot him was found not guilty. In Chad’s loving memory the Oulson Family Foundation was created and will keep his memory alive as we work with the community and help other children who have been impacted by gun violence.
Gone But Not Forgotten #28