Richard Olson, 70Richard “RO” Olson, 70, Lake Miltona, died suddenly Friday, August 28, 2009 at his home.
Richard “RO” Olson, 70, Lake Miltona, died suddenly Friday, August 28, 2009 at his home.
Ritchie was born in Owatonna on June 4, 1939 and was adopted at the age of 8 months by Marion (Lent) and Osborn Olson of Duluth. The couple hand-picked him because he had blonde, curly hair. Lucky for Ritchie, as he was raised in a loving, Christian family. He called his parents every Tuesday at 7 o’clock and visited his relatives every month until the last passed, his Aunt Ruth, at the age of 101 years.
Ritchie grew up in Hermantown, where he attended school and later college. While in high school, he was captain of the basketball team, honor roll and won many trophies and ribbons for horseshoes – imagine that! He was still in touch with a few high school buddies after 52 years. Ritchie was employed out of college with Lakeside Nameplate, which later moved to Minneapolis. Ritchie served two years in the U.S. Army. He returned to Lakeside, working for 39 years with the company. Ritchie loved his Lakeside family and continued to be close to many of his fellow employees. He retired on Independence Day 1999, as he put it, “to watch the sun come up over Lake Miltona” aka “On Golden Ponds,” as he so lovingly called his home.
Ritchie was married to his first wife, Phyllis, for seven years. Phyllis died of leukemia at the age of 35. Ritchie met Genny in 1976, and they married in 1983. (He never rushed into anything.)
Ritchie joined the Lions International Club of Miltona so he could help out in his community driving people to the grocery store, doctor appointments or any other errands as needed. He acquired many new friends through the club. He chose not to ride in the parades ,however.
Ritchie was a putzer, as his friend, Charlie, called him. He putzed with his birds, tomato plants and chipmunks. He had a couple of them trained to eat out of his hand and climb into his pocket to get peanuts. One chipmunk would chirp until Ritchie fed him until one day, he saw one of them messing with his tomatos and stated, “Don’t mess with my tomatoes!” He trapped 33 of them and drove them down the road and let them loose. He sprayed the tails orange on two chipmunks to see if they would return, and they never did.
His last day was spent doing what he loved the most, playing horseshoes and hanging out with his buddies. Ritchie loved his family and friends deeply. He was a very simple man and was one of the most thoughtful, caring, compassionate, honest friend that anyone could have.
He is survived by his loving wife, Genevieve of Alexandria; son, Rick (Kathy) Stefanick of North Carolina; daughter, Caroline Williams of St. Cloud; seven grandchildren, Michael, Josh, Jessica, Matthew, Flora, Nathaniel and Tristin; great-grandchild, Carter; sister, Joyce Pyburn; mother-in-law, Grace Schmoll; sisters-in-law, Pat (Wayne) King and Bobbie (Bruce) Nelson; and brother-in-law, Kenneth (Jean) Schmoll.
Ritchie was preceded in death by his first wife, Phyllis; and parents, Marion and Osborn Olson.
A memorial service was held on Tuesday, September 1 at Anderson Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Kenneth Thiele officiating. Music was provided by Kim Byrne.
Inurnment was at Spruce Hill Cemetery in Spruce Hill Township.
Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria; www.andersonfuneral.net.
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