FORT SHAW Norma L. Olsen, 90, of Fort Shaw, died of natural causes Saturday, March 30, at a local care facility.
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Funeral services are 11 a.m. Friday at the Fort Shaw Bible Church. Burial will follow in Sun River Cemetery. Croxford Funeral Home handled arrangements.
Norma was born in Great Falls on July 24, 1922, to Chalmer and Anna Blossom. She was the 4th of 7 children.
She attended grade school in Fort Shaw and graduated from Fort Shaw High School in 1940. She then attended the College of Great Falls and Northern Montana College in Havre, where she received her teaching certificate. She began her short-lived teaching career in 1942 at a country school north of Great Falls, but she broke her wrist and was unable to finish the school year. Welding school in Helena was next for Norma, which eventually landed her a job as a ship welder for the Navy in Portland Oregon during World War II. The "Rosie the Riveter" caricature fit her well.
Norma returned to Montana and the Sun River Valley in 1945 and met her future husband, Dick Olsen (who had just returned from a tour of duty with the Coast Guard) at one of the weekly dances in the valley. They were married a year later in 1946 at her sister and brother-in-law's home (Peggy and L.W. Fasbender)
The newlyweds worked for Eli Dairy, Purvis Brothers Dairy, and L.W. Fasbender. In the early 1950s, they purchased 160 acres on the Ashuelot bench, where they ran a dairy and farmed the land.
They also found time to raise a family beginning with Rick born in Nov. 1948, Don in Jan. 1951, Terry in Sept. 1952 and Michelle in Nov. 1958.
Norma wore many hats during her 90 years on this earth. In addition to teaching, welding and farming, she worked for a time at the Sun River Café and was the postmaster at Fort Shaw for 20 years. She prided herself by knowing "every family on the route" and being there to serve the community. In her spare time, she and her sister Peggy made hundreds of elaborate wedding cakes for many friends and family.
Dick, the love of her life, passed away in 1991. Norma continued to stay active in the community at the Fort Shaw Bible Church, volunteering at Fort Shaw Elementary, Fortnightly Club, Study Club, American Legion Auxiliary and was an enthusiastic member of a bowling team for many years.
Norma took great delight in the many accomplishments of her grandchildren and attended as many of their sporting events as she was able. They have fond memories of their "Grams" enthusiastic, if antiquated, cheers. Her grandchildren were the pride of her life and just the mention of their names would cause her eyes to light up and a big smile to cross her face.
Norma is survived by her sons Rick (Jani) Olsen of Dillon; Don (Marian) Olsen and children Elizabeth (Brian) Campbell, Maren (Aeric) Reilly, Jennifer (Aaron) Brown and Jonathan Olsen; Terry (Lesly) Olsen and son Quade; Michelle (Jim) Cornelson and son Jesse. She was also blessed with six great-grandchildren.
She is also survived by her sister, Peggy Fasbender; brothers Gordon Blossom, Bob Blossom and Dick Blossom; and numerous nieces and nephews, countless friends and an incredible legacy of laughter and the love of God and the life He gave.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Richard; and a brother Walter (Bud) Blossom.
Memorials may be made to the Fort Shaw Bible Church or the Sun River Valley Historical Society.
Condolences may be posted online at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Apr. 3, 2013