Helen Olson(1926 - 2013)

Helen E. Olson

Helen Olson, age 86, died Sunday, Feb. 3, in hospice care at the Good Samaritan Village in Sioux Falls.

Helen Eileen Stoen was born on June 30, 1926, to Charles and Nellie Stoen in Decorah, Iowa. She had three sisters -- Fran, Dorothy and Mary -- and one brother, Roger.

She attended Decorah High School, where she was the valedictorian of her class. Helen then graduated from Luther College, also in Decorah, where she majored in English. Aside from working part-time at the local bakery during college, she was the editor of her college newspaper CHIPS, and served as the editor of the college yearbook. Prior to marriage, she taught high school English at Owatonna, MN, and was also the school's journalism advisor.

She married Danny Leonard Olson on Aug. 17, 1949, after their graduation from Luther College. They moved to Minneapolis where Danny attended the American Institute of the Air, while Helen worked at Boyer Motors. They later moved to Marion, IN, Fairmont, MN, and later to Sioux Falls for Danny's TV and radio sports broadcasting jobs. Helen was a high school teacher in Fairmont, MN, and later worked as a receptionist at KIHO Radio in Sioux Falls. Helen and Danny made Sioux Falls their home for more than 50 years, and were active members of First Lutheran Church all their lives in Sioux Falls.

Aside from raising three children, Helen and Danny volunteered numerous years to the Meals on Wheels program. Helen orchestrated neighborhood fundraising drives for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. Helen also taught Sunday School at First Lutheran Church, was an avid reader of books and the news, and was a strong proponent of improving reading and writing abilities.

Helen relished in returning home to Decorah to attend her Luther College class reunions, and the annual Nordic Fest celebration of the town's norwegian heritage. She also enjoyed many trips with her children to Florida and Arizona while Danny covered Major League Spring Training. She attended many basketball and baseball games with her husband, enjoyed fishing, and kept in close touch with her family members.

Grateful for having shared her life are her daughter Kristy (Paul) Zuraff of Sioux Falls, sons Scott (Sue) Olson of Vadnais Heights, MN, and Terry Olson of Sioux Falls; sisters Frances Valles, Hesperia, CA, Dorothy Barstad, Eau Claire, WI, Mary Marquard, Hampton, IA; six grandchildren, Joshua (Meagan) Zuraff, Shawn Zuraff, (Sioux Falls), Brooke Olson, (Vadnais Heights, MN), Nathan Olson, Taylor Olson and Nicholas Olson (all Sioux Falls).

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Danny and brother Roger.

The family requests that memorials be directed to the First Lutheran Church Media Ministry Fund.

Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. with the family present from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, 2013, at Miller Funeral Home, 13th & Main. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 8, 2013, at First Lutheran Church with a reception immediately following the service. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery.

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Published in The Argus Leader on Feb. 6, 2013