Joan E. Olson

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Olson, Joan G.

On January 14, 2013 Joan Grace Olson was welcomed home to her place among the angels. At the time of her passing she was surrounded at her bedside by her loving family singing hymns as she left this world peacefully and comfortably. She was born January 3rd, 1933.

Funeral Services are 11:00 AM Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, Wisconsin Rapids, WI. Rev. James Logan, Rev. Msgr. Edmund Klimek, and Deacon Jim Hite will officiate. Visitation will be held at Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids, WI from 4:00-7:00 PM Tuesday and Wednesday at the Church from 10:00-11:00 AM. There will be a Parish Prayer Service at 7:00 PM Tuesday at the funeral home.

Joan joins in Heaven her mother and father, Bernice and Shirley Drake, brothers Eugene and Gilbert Drake, sister Joyce (Drake) Clark, sister-in-law Yvonne Drake, brother-in-law Robert "Dutch" Clark, brother-in-law Ervine Olson, sister-in-law Virginia Stensberg, nephew Jeff Drake, grandson Michael Francis Hite, and Donald Yetter.

Among those surviving who will continue to honor and cherish her memory include her constant companion and loving husband of 51 years, Robert "Ole" Olson, daughter Beth Ann and husband Peter Hite of Houston, Texas, son Mark Olson and Julie Hager of Mequon, WI, and son Michael Olson and wife Leticia Konigsberg of Houston, Texas. Her eight wonderful grandchildren, Andrew, Mathew, Henry, John Paul, and Abby Hite, Ben Olson, and Drake and Simon Olson adored their "Nonnie" and will hold dear all the memories from trips to WI and Joan and Bob's yearly visits to Houston. Her surviving sisters and brothers include Sharon (Drake) Garibaldi and husband Joe Garibaldi of Clearwater Florida, brother Jerry Drake of Iron Mountain, Michigan, and brother Greg Drake and wife Jill of Mosinee, sister-in-law Betty Drake of Mosinee and Dorothy Drake of Steven's Point.

Joan was a woman ahead of her time as she successfully balanced a full-time career in nursing, raised a wonderful family, as well as served as a mom to countless members of the Assumption Royal Basketball and Softball teams that Bob coached for over 30 years. She was renowned for her spaghetti dinners and feeding anyone who stopped by the house. No visitor escaped her home leaving with less than a full belly and fully clothed for the weather.

Joan graduated Mosinee High School in 1950 and was voted most athletic in her class, homecoming queen and was known to frequently slash the slopes of Rib Mountain as an accomplished skier always equipped with the latest Cubco bindings and Head skis. She was never to be found simply hanging out in the lodge by the fire. She was also a graceful ice skater for the Silver Blades in Mosinee.

Joan graduated from the St. Mary's School of Nursing in Wausau, followed by attaining her Bachelor of Nursing degree, BSN, from Lakeland College. Her career included serving as a nurse for Consolidated Paper Company, an emergency room nurse at Riverview Hospital in Wisconsin Rapids and St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, a nurse for the Wood County Public Health Department, starting and managing the Head Start program in Wisconsin Rapids, working for Intracorp/Cigna Insurance, and ending her career at the Marshfield Clinic in Physical Medicine by pioneering the role of case manager which has now become an industry standard position.

Joan served as a board member to the Head Start program, was a member of the Wisconsin Nurses Association, and served as a member of the Central Wisconsin Area Planning Committee for Public Health, and served on numerous other committees.

Joan was an avid Wisconsin Badger basketball, football, and hockey fan and enjoyed watching her niece Kim Drake and nephew Chase Drake play hockey for the badgers. Brett Favre was her favorite Green Bay Packer. She also was an ardent fan and photographer of the Assumption Royals, Lincoln Red Raiders, and Port Edward Blackhawks. Most recently during the fall and winter she could be found cheering for Cy-Creek Cougars football and basketball teams and Lady Liberty basketball team in Houston, Texas where her grandchildren are accomplished athletes and scholars. She could also be found watching reruns of the Lawrence Welk show with her three year old grandson Drake Olson. She was delighted to meet her newest grandchild Simon Maguire Olson who was born on December 28th, 2012. She celebrated her 80th birthday on Jan. 3rd of this year with family and all enjoyed a tray of whopper juniors - one of her favorite indulgences.

Special thanks to Tim and Gail Johnson and Lisa Albert who provided unconditional friendship and assistance to both Joan and Bob throughout the many years they have been together. Also thanks to the nurses and doctors at St. Luke's Hospital in Houston, Texas who cared for Joan in her final days with us.

Joan will be sorely missed but we can be comforted that she is at peace and now an angel in Heaven watching over us.

We love you Mom.

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Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Jan. 21, 2013
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