IRONWOOD, Mich. — Gerhard William Olson, 95, a lifelong resident of Olson Road in Ironwood Township, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, after living in the loving care of his daughter Jean and Dan Borth and their family for 11 years. Dementia slowly took him from us, but we rejoice that he is at home with his Lord and Savior and we look forward to a sweet reunion in Heaven.
Gerhard was born in Ironwood on Nov. 11, 1917, son of the late Lilly (Fell) and Carl Hjalmer Olson. He attended Ironwood Township schools and then helped run the family farm while building and then operating Sunset Dairy on Olson Road with his brothers, Don and Lawrence, until the business merged with Blue Ribbon Dairy, becoming Consolidated Dairies in Bessemer. He retired in 1979.
Gerhard married Geraldine Sylvia Rowell, from Chicago, on June 19, 1943. They built their home on Olson Road, where they tended large gardens and raspberry patches and raised chickens. They were married 37 years and were blessed with nine children. Gerhard lovingly cared for his wife until her passing in 1979 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Gerhard was an active member of the Methodist Church, First Baptist Church and Range Community Bible Church. Throughout his life, he faithfully devoted himself to personal Bible study and prayer, taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and served as a deacon. His life truly exemplified his love for the Lord. He would proclaim to anyone who would listen, “Kneel and pray in an audible voice, surrender your life to Jesus Christ, claim Him as Savior and Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you every step of the way.” He has left a lasting legacy of faith to his family.
Gerhard loved to garden and was a market gardener in his retirement years. His produce was sought after, especially his sweet corn, carrots, beans and potatoes. He also kept busy making maple syrup, cutting wood, baking and writing and publishing “A Legacy of Olson Road.”
Gerhard was preceded in death by his grandparents, Charles Hjalmer Olson and Augusta (Erickson) Olson, Vaarmland, Sweden, and William and Sarah (Tyson) Fell, Lake District, England, who all immigrated to this area around 1900; his parents, Carl Hjalmer and Lilly Olson; his loving wife, Geri; a wonderful son, Dean (2002); a dear daughter, Janet (Greg) Rajala (2000); three brothers, Ronald (in infancy), Lawrence and Don, his neighbor and best friend; and a sister, Lois (Alphonse) Prezkop.
Surviving are seven children, Gary (Ginny), Ironwood, Carol (Don) Pelto, St. Paul, Minn ., Linda (Paul) Niemi, Neenah, Wis ., Jean (Dan) Borth, Ironwood, Carl (Carole), Larson, Wis ., Ruth (Ron) Mueller, Carney, and Jill (Jeff) Stuebs, Almond, Wis .; 34 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m ., with a funeral service at 4 p.m ., followed by supper at 5 p.m ., at Range Community Bible Church in Hurley, Wis.
Committal and interment will be on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 1:30 p.m. in Sunset Acres Cemetery, Ironwood Township.
Pallbearers will be Gary Olson, Carl Olson, Paul Niemi, Greg Rajala, Dan Borth and Ron Mueller.
Gerhard’s obituary may be viewed online and condolences given to his family at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home Inc ., Ironwood.
Psalm 119:111: “Thy testimonies have I taken as a heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” (KJV)