Philip James Olson
Phil was born December 13, 1938 to Ole and Anna Olson. He was the youngest of 14 children. He spent his childhood with his family on a farm near Clarion, Iowa. During his career at Clarion High School, Phil, known as Zeke, was an accomplished wrestler and student while working with his family on their farm. Following high school, Phil enlisted in the U. S. Army and served his nation at a variety of duty stations including the Korean Peninsula.
Upon his discharge, Phil settled in Des Moines where he met the love of his life, and married Connie Davis on October 16, 1960. During their 53 years of marriage, they raised three children and enjoyed six grandsons and two great granddaughters.
Phil always enjoyed family time, travel, and outdoor activities. He and Connie took their children on several memorable trips including several trips to Florida, a swing through the western United States, an unforgettable visit to Norway, and several East Coast excursions. In addition, Phil and Connie enjoyed special trips together to Hawaii and Tokyo. An avid fisherman, Phil frequently discussed the sport and never turned down a chance to go fishing. Phil established and ran the successful Olson Caulking Company, Inc. for over 32 years.
After a diagnosis of motor neuron disease in 1997, later refined to ALS, Phil maximized his remaining time in both quality and duration. While he continued to run his business for several years enjoying the camaraderie of many lifelong friends, he focused on family, and was a integral element in the lives of his family serving as an example, a mentor, and a friend in addition to his roles as Husband, Father, Grandfather, and recently Great Grandfather.
Relying on his faith in God, he courageously battled ALS for over 16 years. On Tuesday, December 24, 2013, Phil passed away peacefully with family in his Madison Avenue home of 45 years at the age of 75.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers, two sisters, and many friends. He is survived by his wife, Connie; his children, Greg, Jeff (Amy Witt), and Laura (Randy) Friend; six grandsons; Zach (Shelly), Jacob, Nick Olson, and Mikel, Matthew and Mitchell Friend; and two great granddaughters, Allison and Evelyn Olson.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 29, from 3-5 p.m. at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church. A memorial service with military honors, will be held on Monday, December 30, at 11 a.m., also at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial accounts have been established with ALS Iowa Chapter or Hospice of Central Iowa. Online condolences are welcome at IlesCares.com.
Published in Des Moines Register from Dec. 27 to Dec. 29, 2013