Rex A. Olson "Coach" Rex A. Olson, 86 years old, died of old age July 7, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Angus Leroy and Elsie Ritchie Olson. When he was 14 years old, Rex's Dad died. He grew up in poverty while his Mom worked diligently outside the home to support the family. Sports became his salvation and he used to talk about how he nailed a peach basket to the kitchen wall so he could play basketball at home. He married Barbara Hansen on Feb. 14, 1947 in Richfield, Utah. The marriage was later solemnized in the LDS Temple on Feb. 16, 1961. Rex was a graduate of Granite High School in Salt Lake City, Utah where he was a star athlete in basketball, football, and baseball. He later earned his Bachelor's of Science and Master's Degree from Brigham Young University. He was active in sports in junior high, high school, and college. He served three years in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He played on the Air Corps basketball and football teams, and loved playing sports to entertain the troops. After the war he returned to Brigham Young University and he received the All-Around Athlete award in Provo, Utah. He was the quarterback on the first postwar club and ranked 10th in the nation among college passers. The following year Rex led the nation in pass completions and total yardage for half of the season, and finished the year in third place. He was named to the All Conference Team in 1946. He graduated from BYU in 1948 and compiled a number of athletics records. Rex worked as a coach at B.Y. High School in Provo, Utah for two years. The first year, 1948-49, the tiny school won the Basketball Championship for Class B Schools and finished third the following year. He then worked at Granite High School in Salt Lake City as a teacher and basketball, baseball, and football coach. He loved teaching his teams the fundamentals of sports, and did it with passion and patience. He retired from the educational system in 1978 after 30 years of teaching and coaching. He loved all sports, and began golfing at 40 years old. He rarely missed a day of golf until he was 84 years old, and shot his age when he was 81! He taught golf for BYU and community school for years. He was also a huge Utah Jazz fan. He was a High Priest in the LDS Church, serving in various capacities during his lifetime. He also was the ward clerk for 15 years. Rex is survived by his children Karen Johnson (Brian), Kathy Hoggan (Lynn), and Ken (Jill). He leaves six grandchildren whom he really enjoyed: Eric Johnson, Ryan (Erin) and Jason Hoggan, and Tyler (Ashlee), Trent, and McKinzie Olson. Rex is also survived by one sister, Jo Schultz, three brothers Floyd, Gordon, and Richard. Richard preceded him in death. Funeral Services will be held July 11, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at Jenkins Soffe Mortuary 4760 South State Street in Murray. Friends may call one hour prior to services (10:00-11:00 a.m.). Friends may visit the evening of July 10th from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the mortuary. Interment, Murray City Cemetery.
Published in Deseret News from Jul. 9 to Jul. 10, 2008.