Tilford Martin "Pat" Olson passed peacefully into eternal life on Jan. 17, 2009 at the Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood.
Pat was born in Glenwood. on Sept. 21, 1919 to Fred T. and Alma (Mickelson) Olson. Pat was an infant when the family moved to Cyrus. He graduated from Cyrus High School in 1937 and was proud to say that he, his wife Rachel and their three children all graduated from Cyrus High School. Pat also attended the West Central School of Agricultural in Morris.
He was united in marriage to Rachel Estenson in July of 1941.
He enlisted in the military and proudly served in the United States Army from 1941 to October of 1945. He was awarded numerous medals for his service to his country, including two Purple Hearts. Pat was a part of the Normandy invasion - landing on Omaha Beach. He fought in the hedgerow countryside in France, served in Belgium, the Battle of the Bulge, the Ardennes, and in Germany. Pat created a treasure for his family and friends by writing about these experiences and creating a book titled "Mission Accomplished." This project caused him great turmoil - evoking painful memories for him. He is now free of the nightmares and bad dreams that were with him for more than 60 years.
Upon discharge from the Army, Pat and his brother Warren (Wub) owned and operated Olson Brother's Red Owl in Cyrus. Warren eventually moved to South Dakota but Pat continued owning and operating Olson's Red Owl in Cyrus until 1982.
While Pat and his wife raised three children and worked in the Red Owl store six days a week, he was also active in his beloved community of Cyrus. He served as chief of the fire department for over 30 years, was a leader in the construction of a new fire hall, was active in the Commercial Club, Cyrus Boosters, the Cyrus Lions Club, he was Clerk of the Cyrus School Board - serving during the time of construction of the new elementary school building, he served on the Council of Cyrus Lutheran Church. He created items for sale at the church bazaar and silent auction, he was deeply involved in events celebrating the Cyrus Centennial. Pat was the "voice" of the Friday night drawings for "Cyrus Bucks". He was a business owner who always helped with the decorating of the lamp posts of Cyrus for the Christmas season. He organized a go-kart track just outside of town which became a regular Sunday afternoon racing spot for teenage drivers. He was also a member of the American Legion - Cyrus and then the Morris Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. Pat also served for a period of time on the Pope County Health Board.
During his retirement years he continued his service to Cyrus and the area by serving on Cyrus All School Reunion committees, promoting the Cyrus Math Science and Technology Elementary School by building parade floats and the school mascot - Dr. Megabyte. He also built play kitchen furniture for the Cyrus Daycare Center.
Pat was an inspiration to his three children and five grandchildren teaching them to be responsible, to accomplish something each day and - in whatever you do - do an excellent job, serve your community and serve your fellow man.
Pat will be remembered by many for his creativity, as a child making toys and even a snowmobile. He showed his creativity in the various displays and decorations he made for their grocery store, his Halloween costumes - even as an 85 year old, and his homemade Christmas decorations for the yard. At the age of 88 he was featured in the January 2008 issue of the Senior Perspective. The article conveyed that he was persistent in making everything as perfect as possible. He would think of something to create, draw up a plan and make it work.
It is important to remember what the dash in our lives represents. For Pat the dash between 1919 and 2009 was filled with honor, and love of God, family, community and country.
Pat was preceded in death by his devoted wife Rachel to whom he was married for 60 years. He was also preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and two brothers.
He is survived by daughter Terryle of Washington, D.C., son Bruce (Marie Anderson) Olson of Alexandria, daughter Barbara (Tom Hesse) of Morris, five grandchildren - of whom Pat was so very proud - Jon Hesse of Fargo, N.D., Kristoff Olson of Chapel Hill, N.C., Kellie Hesse of Fargo, N.D., Lydia Olson of Plymouth, and Ahna Olson of Madison, Wis. Also surviving are two sisters Marion (Grant) Cross of Apple Valley, Helen Larson of Starbuck, a host of nieces and nephews and special friend and companion Sylvia Behl of Starbuck.
Funeral services for Tilford Olson will be held on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cyrus. Visitation for will be held on Friday, Jan. 23 from 4-7 p.m. at the Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris.
In honor of Tilford Olson, please show an act of kindness to a military veteran - take a veteran for a ride, out to lunch or to the Dairy Queen for a raspberry sundae.