Born: Halden, Norway, on November 28, 1916. (Although the name and birthdate are identical, the Warsailors site below gives his birthplace as Idd, Norway.)
Died: Saranac Lake, on February 4, 1943
John Otto Svendsen was one of the Norwegian Sailors who cured in Saranac Lake during World War II. Svendsen is said to have served as ordinary seaman on Margrethe Bakke until he contracted tuberculosis in the winter of 1942 and was sent to a sanatorium. Unfortunately, no "Report of a Case of Tuberculosis" card was found for him in the Adirondack Collection of the Saranac Lake Free Library, which might have given some additional information about him and his stay here. He died here and is buried in Pine Ridge Cemetery with the other Norwegian sailors. He "cured" at Stony Wold Sanatorium and at the Sageman Cottage, 32 Park Avenue, where he died. At Christmas he asked for and apparently received a bathrobe and a scarf from the Social Welfare Committee for Norwegian Seamen in America.
A John Swensen was one of a group of Norwegian merchant seamen curing in the Sageman Cottage in September of 1942. For a column named "Cottage Calls," The Guild News interviewed him: "John Swensen is only a boy, but sailing is an old story to him. He likes dancing, movies and, most of all, girls. "Any special girl?" we asked. "No," said John, "just play the field. It's better that way, don't you think?" We declined to answer.
The John Otto Svendsen who came to Saranac Lake may have also been on the ship Bill, sunk in July 1942. (See the site referenced below.)