Marge Olson

   Let me introduce you to Marge Olson, 85, mother of Mark Olson and Dawn Divis, and grandmother to Jeremy Anderson, Austin Anderson and Keaton Higgins.

  Marjorie Ellen was born July 27, 1937 at home to Merrill and Hildegard Arnold. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church at Mankato, MN. She was confirmed at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church at Albert Lea in 1951, and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1955. Later, she attended Winona State College, graduating in 1958 with a degree in elementary education.

  Marjorie frequently went by Marge or occasionally Midge in her younger years.

  “Dad didn’t believe it was fitting for a woman to drive, and he was never reluctant to leave his farm work to take us wherever we needed to go.” confides Marge, remembering her early years on the farm in southern Minnesota. “In fact, my mother worked fulltime, sometimes split shifts starting at 5 a.m. But Dad was happy to do the driving; he considered it to be the man’s responsibility. My sister and I got sleigh rides in winter to the country school we attended. Later, when in high school at Albert Lea, Dad believed that my responsibilities lay on the farm, so I was never involved in any groups or attended after-school activities.”

  It wasn’t until Marge had earned her teaching degree and was employed in the Albert Lea school district that she met Larry Olson. Like his father, Larry was a farmer. They were united in marriage on August 17, 1963 at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church. They settled into their own farm life near Northwood, and in one month’s time Marge was expecting their first child. This, of course, required trips to the doctor. But unlike her father, Larry declared he was not about to leave the fields to run her back and forth for appointments. “You’re going to learn to get behind the wheel,” he informed her. But when she was eight months pregnant, Marge could barely squeeze behind the wheel. Nevertheless, she read the book, passed the test, and was driving the next day.

  They had two children, Mark and Dawn. She eventually traded her teaching position at Rockwell Elementary for a job at Fleetguard Manufacturing in Lake Mills, which she held for 25 years. At that point Larry contracted Muscular Dystrophy, and she was needed at home to care for him. They were grandparents by this time, though not even his wheelchair and medical needs could keep them from attending their events in Belmond. Jeremy, Austin and Keaton were the light of their lives, and Marge continued to be a very proud grandmother.

  Larry passed away in 2003, just shy of their 40th wedding anniversary. After moving to Belmond, Marge began stepping out into the community. For ten years she was a volunteer at the elementary school where she listened to students practice their reading. She also enjoyed ten years of sewing with the Prairie Quilters. Each of her grandsons, nieces and nephews have a handmade quilt of their own, with special colors picked just for them.

  In her later days you would find Marge enjoying one of her novels of the Old West or happily engaged with Jeopardy and The Price is Right. It may surprise you to know that she was a die-hard NASCAR fan and took many bus trips with friends and to various race tracks around the country, including the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Even her daughter knew not to call on a Sunday afternoon because she would be glued to the races.   

  Marge also enjoyed reading and word search puzzles, as well as continuing to support her grandsons. She was a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Green Bay Packers, as Larry was a die-hard fan. She is remembered by her caregivers and family as being spunky in her end days. Marge finished her race on January 15, 2023 at the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond.

  Marge is survived by her son Mark Olson of Winona, MN; daughter Dawn (Gary) Divis of Belmond; grandsons Jeremy Anderson, Austin Anderson and Keaton Higgins; sister Arlene (Dennis) Galagan of Albert Lea; brother-in-law Keith and Fran Olson of Northwood.

  She was preceded in death by her: parents; husband Larry; and sister-in-law Bonnie Schutz.

  A funeral service was held Jan. 20 at First Lutheran Church in Northwood, with Rev. Becky Sogge officiating. Burial was at Sunset Rest Cemetery in Northwood.

  Memorials are suggested to the nascarfoundation.org which helps to support children’s medical needs, or the Muscular Dystrophy Association in honor of Larry.