February 29, 1944 – Thursday, January 1, 2009
Shirley Ann Olson, age 64 of Buffalo, died Thursday, January 1, 2009 at the Buffalo Hospital.
**Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers.
Shirley was born on February 29, 1944 in Hibbing. A Class of ’62 graduate from the Elbow Lake High School, she attended St. Cloud University and St. Cloud Business School. Later, she studied art and interior design at the University of Minnesota. On December 22, 1962, Shirley Ann (nee Nelson) married Duane Olson at Erdahl Lutheran Church in Erdahl. While they lived in Floodwood, she taught piano lessons from their home. A few years later they moved to St Paul where Shirley volunteered at schools and church. They next moved to the St. Cloud area where Shirley Ann owned The House of Tole art studio where she sold her work and taught painting. She traveled selling her paintings and attended Priscilla Houser’s workshops in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ten years later, she and Duane moved to Minot, North Dakota. There she worked for the YWCA. As an executive director, Shirley wrote grants, operated fund-raisers, and developed many needed programs to help women and their children. She also served on the Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador. In 1996 they moved to Buffalo. She began volunteering for the community and soon began working for Wright County as a community colaborative program director. From her office at the Howard Lake elementary school, Shirley coordinated and bolstered all area after-school activities of church, private, and school groups. She wrote grants to help fund these programs so area children could have fun, safe activities. She loved making a difference and only retired because poor health forced her to do so. Shirley enjoyed hosting and organizing events, helping and being with people. She faithfully attended Friday knitting at the Yarn Shop, and the Wednesday morning card club. She was an excellent seamstress and enjoyed sewing her children’s and grandchildren’s clothing. She liked to garden and belonged to the America In Bloom committee. She liked to make art and do crafts, using a myriad of media, such as stain glass.
Shirley was always active in the churches to which she belonged, whether it was teaching Sunday School in Floodwood, or volunteering with the Women of Zion and Harvest of Hands. While at Zion, she was a member of the Joyful Ringers bell choir, head cook for many Lutfisk dinners, hosted many Prayer Sisters teas, and made blankets with the quilting group.
Shirley Ann Olson is survived by her husband, Duane; children: Sheila (Pat) Allen, Monticello, Lisa (Hans) Scheller, Chesterton, Indiana, Kyle Olson, Mankato, and Renee (William) Scruitsky, Peyton, Colorado; sister, Ardella (Donald) Schmidt, Devore, California; brother, Ralph (Gloria) Elj, Litchfield; and grandchildren: Michaela Allen, Hannah and Delaney Scheller, Cade and Brock Olson, and Rebekah and Joshua Scruitsky. She was preceded in death by her parents, Marley Beltrand and Alvina Leona Margaret (nee Mahla) Nelson.
Funeral services for Shirley Ann Olson are 4:00 P.M. Sunday, January 4, 2009 at Zion Lutheran Church. Visitation will be at the Church, one hour before the funeral. The private interment will be at Kahbakong Cemetery in Taylors Falls. Officiating the funeral will be Reverend Becky Sogge. Marlene Mohwinkel will play the organ and special music will be provided by the Joyful Ringers bell choir. The Casket Bearers are: William Scruitsky, Hans Scheller, Rodd Olson, Ryan Olson, and Pat Allen.