P. Kenneth Olson

P. Kenneth “Kenny” Olson, 82, of Rushford, died Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester.

P. Kenneth “Kenny” Olson was born Febr. 17, 1930 to Elmer and Minnie (Ellefson) Olson Sogla at home in rural Rushford, Minn.  He was baptized on March 23, 1930, confirmed on Aug. 6, 1944 and graduated from Rushford High School in 1948.

On Jan. 24, 1953, he married Audrey (Myhre) at Wilmington Lutheran Church, Spring Grove, and together they farmed the home farm on Oak Ridge, rural Rushford, which was homesteaded in 1896.  Audrey passed away on Nov. 23, 1996. Kenny lived his entire life on the home farm. On June 22, 2003 he married Delores Thompson, who survives him.

Kenny received the Star Farmer award in 1948. He served in the National Guard, retiring as a Staff Sergeant, was a past member of the Minnesota Farmers Union, Houston County Soil & Water Conversation District Board, Farmers Elevator Board, Clerk for the Yucatan Township, on the planning committee for the first swimming pool in Rushford, a member of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home Building Committee, on the Rushford School addition committee, the Rushford Historical Society and many other township, county, church and local committees. He was a leading advocate for soil and water conservation.

In 1965, Kenneth and Audrey were named State Farmers of the year and were honored to host Governor Karl Rolvaag for a farm tour on Sept. 18, 1965 which was their son Keith’s 10th birthday.

Kenneth was a member of Oak Ridge Lutheran Church, until it closed in 1967. The church was later disassembled and taken to Hamar Norway where it is now part of an Open Air Norwegian Immigrant Museum site.  He was invited to be a guest speaker at the dedication of the Oak Ridge Church in Hamar, Norway on Aug. 11, 2002 and was honored to participate in this wonderful celebration of the Olson family’s Norwegian/Christian Heritage.

At the time of his death, Kenneth was a member of Highland Prairie Lutheran Church, where he served as Chair of the Building Committee for the rebuilding of a new church after a fire destroyed the church on Easter Sunday, 1973.

Kenneth is survived by his wife Delores and her family; children, Susanne (Steven) Skree, Rochester; Clair (Patricia) Olson, Rushford and Barbara (Robert) Curtis, Wilmington, Ohio; grandchildren,  Kirsten (Michael) Gurtner, Eric Skree, Jarad, Brittany and Jana Olson, Craig Gordley; four great-grandchildren, Ethan, Chase, Hannah and Liam Gurtner; three sisters-in-law, Lola (Tenus) Thorson, Phyllis Elmquist and Doreen Dahl and their children; one aunt, Ruth Ellefson; and several cousins.  Kenneth is also survived by his extended family, Roger and Kathie Nordtvedt and John and Colleen Kvasnicka and their families.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Audrey; and his son Keith.

He loved his family, friends and the farm where he was born and lived his entire life. His strong Christian faith sustained him through the good times and the not so good times throughout his life.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 at Hoff Funeral & Cremation Service in Rushford and also one hour prior to the service at church. Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 6 at Highland Prairie Lutheran Church with Reverend Kay Wold officiating. Burial will follow in Highland Prairie Lutheran Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Highland Prairie or Oak Ridge Cemetery Associations or a charity of the donor’s choice.

The Olson family would like to thank the many family, friends and care givers who helped care for and support “Kenny” and the Olson family.

Please share a memory of Kenny with his family, sign the online guestbook, and view his video tribute when it becomes available at www.hofffuneral.com.