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Dr. Herbert W. Olson

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Dr.  Herbert W. Olson Obituary
Dr. Herbert W. Olson Okemos Born April 11, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan to Waldo and Elizabeth Olson, passed away peacefully at high noon on August 28, 2013. Dr. Olson was every inch a son of Michigan and ardent American patriot. An outstanding student and athlete, he turned down an academic and football scholarship to (then) Michigan State College, graduated early from Chadsey High School, and enlisted in the United states Navy to serve proudly in the last days of World War II and in the occupation of Japan from 1945-1946. He served as a gunner's mate and achieved the rank of third Class Petty Officer. In the fall of 1949, Herb attended Michigan State College, then was a graduate student, and eventually a full professor of Kinesiology, Dr. Olson spent his entire career at Michigan State. Herb began as an instructor in 1954. During the years 1965-1990 he was coordinator of Instructional Programs, Assistant Chairperson, Department of Health, and Physical Education, Coordinator of Registration and Scheduling for Department of Health, and Physical Education. Dr. Olson co-authored numerous books including the now classic Physical Activity in Modern Living, which pioneered much of the fitness culture as we know today. He also wrote dozens of journal articles, and served as editor of the journal The Physical Educator. Herb retired from Michigan State University in June, 1990 leaving a rich legacy. He taught and mentored hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students and formed many lifelong friendships at Michigan State, a placed he dearly loved. He met the love of his life, Mary L. Leach, also an instructor at Michigan State, in 1954. They were married 57 years. Dr. Olson is survived by his beloved wife Mary; his four children, Scott (fiancée, Andrea), Elizabeth (Richard) Rose, Russel (Veronika), and Christopher; brother, Lyle (Elizabeth) C. Olson, D.O.; sister-in-law, Betty Olson; brother-in-law, Nolen (Judy) V. Leach II, numerous nieces, nephews and one treasured grandchild, Ruslan Erlend Olson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Waldo and Elizabeth, as well as his brother Russel. A Memorial Gathering will be held on Saturday, September 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the University Club of MSU, 3435 Forest Rd, East Lansing with a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made in Dr. Olson's memory to the Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, 535 Chestnut Rd, Rm 300, East Lansing, MI 48824 or the . The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Lansing. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at

Published in Lansing State Journal on Sept. 8, 2013
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