James Olson, 84, New York Mills, Minn., (formerly Donaldson, Minn.) passed away Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Sanford Hospital, Broadway, Fargo, N.D.
James was born May 19, 1936, as a twin, the son of Olaf and Gladys (Lyke) Olson in Donaldson, where he attended school through the eighth grade. He entered the Navy on Jan. 7, 1954, and was honorably discharged on May 14, 1957. He worked on the road construction and that is where he met Doretta Hofmann. They were married Nov. 26, 1960, in Medina, N.D., and just celebrated 60 years together. They made their home in Donaldson until September 2018 when they moved to New York Mills to be closer to their four daughters.
James worked many construction jobs throughout Minnesota and the Dakotas. Over the last 20 some years he worked for Simplot, Trans-systems and local farmers. One of his greatest accomplishments was receiving his high school diploma through the veteran’s office and school district 2171 on Nov. 10, 2006.
He is survived by: his wife of 60 years, Doretta; daughters, Lea (Jerry) Oswald, Fergus Falls, Julie (Gary) Spilde, Perham, Lorrie (Mark) Lorentz, Moorhead, and Jami (Mitch) Kolrud, Fargo; Eight grandchildren that were the light of his life, Kassandra, Lukas (Krystal), Markas (Ashley), Alexas (Garrett), Mitchell, Madelyne, Cole and Jake; Three great-grandchildren; Jazmyn, Bekkam and Brooks; Five sisters-in-law; and three brothers-in-law as well as several nieces and nephews whom he was very close to.
He was preceded in death by: his parents, father- and mother-in-law, five brothers and seven sisters, three brothers-in-law and two sisters-in-law.
James will always be remembered for his wonderful bear hugs and his laugh that was truly infectious. He made many friends by being a little precarious. He would always try to pull something on you if you were not paying attention. He was a very picky mower and took excellent care of his lawn. He also loved playing cards with family and friends. If he had your phone number count on a phone call at least once a week. Once you gained him as a friend he would more than likely give you one of his famous “nicknames.”
An immediate family service only will be held due to COVID at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, at United Church of Christ, 11 E Gilman St., New York Mills.
There will be a graveside service for committal Spring of 2021.
Austin Funeral Chapel, Hallock, is in charge of arrangements. www.austinfuneralchapel.com.