Ronald E. Olson passed away Jun. 4th, 2021 while in the VA Hospital. Born Feb. 7th, 1933 in Moline, IL, he is survived by daughter Deborah, son Randal, and son Kevin/spouse MaryAnn and granddaughter Pemberley, all whom live in CA, and a sister Bonnie/spouse Gary, who live in Moline, IL. He was preceded by his loving wife, Beverly Joanne Ourth Olson, who had passed away April 27th, 2016.
Dad had been being cared for in his home in San Jose, CA, for the past year after sustaining a fall, by his children Deborah and Randal, and with help from a VA home health program. Although he had been using a walker for many years, his knee pain slowed his recovery over the past year, but he was able to be lifted into a wheel chair each day. He remained content to be at home, he was mentally alert and inquisitive, and continued to enjoy sports on tv, as watching baseball has always been a favored pasttime.
Dad graduated from Moline High School in 1951, went on to graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE in 1955, enjoyed being in a fraternity, and played college baseball and basketball throughout that time. He later added an MBA from San Jose State University. We would ask about his college sports years, and he once mentioned he played a baseball game and had 2 hits off the famous pitcher Bob Gibson. Joanne finished education also at Nebraska Wesleyan after her nurses training, and thereupon met Dad at a religious service where they were seated in alphabetical order. They were married and Dad had been drafted into the army, whereupon they lived at an army base in Elizabethtown, KY, where their first born arrived. Dad knew how to type and the military had him in a typing class, and after a while he even ended up teaching the typing class. Apparently, the typing helped him move into a military intelligence administrative role in Japan, working for the generals. It just so happened that there was a baseball squad there for the military as well, so he played for the army team, and yes, even played numerous games against Japan's professional teams. After returning from Japan, the family lived in Moline, IL, where Dad worked for John Deere as an industrial engineer.
Dad enjoyed his nothing-like-a-Deere time there working with a longtime family friend of Dad's parents, Roy Palmer. Deborah and Kevin had been born in Moline, IL, and soon opportunity presented itself to work for Jostens, a company that produced rings and the company wanted him to head west. Dad and the family accepted the job, stopped for a training period in Owatonna, MN for 6 months, then on to Santa Barbara, CA. Dad remembered while at Jostens the time the Green Bay Packers players came to the Santa Barbara plant, and he showed Bart Starr ring styles. That time period being the 60's, access to places like the beach, the LA Dodgers stadium, and Pasadena Rose Bowl parade, were not confined by traffic congestion, as well it wasn't as crowded as things are now in CA. After 4 years at Jostens opportunity rang again, and IBM wanted Dad to move to San Jose, CA to work in industrial engineering and recruiting new employees. Dad loved recruiting, as he could travel back to the midwest and recruit from IL schools. Dad stayed with IBM in San Jose until his retirement in 1992, then after spent a couple years working back as a temp, since Mom was still working as well.
Dad saw to it that the family went to Bay Area sporting events like Stanford football games, and both Mom and Dad enjoyed seeing the sites of the Sequoia National historic redwood forest, and other National Parks, museums, scenic ocean views, and making sure we all went to church. The family often took roadtrips back to the midwest Quad Cities, to visit relatives and experience rural farmland areas. Those roadtrips were fun memories; white chevy nova stationwagon, seeing sites along the way, sometimes along with Dad's parents, with Dad looking forward to Maid Rites and his Mom's chicken dinners. Dad was living in CA, but definitely defined his roots, without a doubt, as Moline.
Dad cherished his lifelong friendships with Chuck, Arno, Blaine, Ryser family, Olson family, Seamans family, Palmer family, and all their families. It was really amazing seeing how Dad and Mom's generation had stacks of Christmas cards each year, associated with midwest people.
Dad honored his parents, and how his parents strived to help improve his life. Dad remembers that his Father had to stop attending school while a pre-teen to support his family, and later his Father having Dad and friends go work with him at loading docks to make extra money for activities. Dad's parents had a strong work ethic, and had even shared living quarters with other families in a big house that Dad's grandmother, Gram, owned during the historic depression years. Life was not easy, but people persevered.
Dad loved holidays and birthdays. He loved gift giving and would always enjoy when you thought all the Christmas gifts were opened, that he'd always say, wait, there might just be one more gift hidden in the back. Dad participated in his children's activities and always wanted to know all the details of how the musical play Mom took us to was. So lucky it was to have the Dad and Mom we did, and do!
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