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Funeral services will take place on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM (Central).

United Methodist Church
Murdo, South Dakota

White River Cemetery
White River, South Dakota

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In memory of

Russell C. Olson

of White River, South Dakota, died on Monday, August 28, 2017 at the Philip Nursing Home at the age of 91

Russell Curtis Olson was born on March 4, 1926, at his parent’s home in White River to Butryx and Esther (Johnson) Olson.

Russ started school on September 7, 1932. Initially he did not want to go to school but his mother took him anyway. He liked it so well that he did not want to go home. Jennie Eilts was his first teacher, and she was also the first teacher for the other six Olson children. When he was 12 years old, he borrowed five dollars from his mother and bought a pig at the sale ring in White River. The sow had 14 pigs, and he raised seven of them. When he sold the pigs his father kept the money.

Russ was baptized on September 5, 1948, becoming a member of the White River Methodist Church Cradle Roll. He formally became a member of the White River Methodist Church in 1956.

During high school Russ played basketball, trumpet in the band, and also played in a dance band. He ran the movie projector at the theater in White River as a side job during his high school years.

He graduated from White River High School on May 12, 1944, and then attended college for one year in Brookings.

From 1946 to 1951 he owned a trucking business with his brother Eugene.

Russ served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 where he spent time in Baltimore, Maryland and also served in Japan.

He was united in marriage to Wanda Mary Barry on September 26, 1954.

Russ helped organize the Mellette County Health Clinic and served on the county board. He also loved to sing in the church choir. In addition to singing at many funerals with the other three choir members, Russ also enjoyed singing with the community chorus. Russ was also a member of the Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, American Legion. He served in many offices at the church and with the Masons. He farmed and ranched his whole life and one of his favorite hobbies was spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife Wanda of Murdo; one son, Cliff (Kim) Olson of White River; three grandsons, Jason (Heather) Olson of Rockford, IL, and Austin and Wyatt Olson of White River; three great-grandchildren, Jeremiah, Braden, and Madison Olson; two brothers Gene (Kay) Olson and John Olson; and a host of other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by one son David Olson; his parents; three brothers Lawrence, Cliff, and George Olson; and one sister Dorothy Miller.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. CDT on Saturday, September 2 at the United Methodist Church in Murdo with Pastor Mark Phillips and Pastor Kathy Chesney officiating.

Interment with military honors will be held at the White River Cemetery in White River.

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 11:00 a.m. CDT
United Methodist Church
Murdo, South Dakota

Pastor Mark Phillips
Pastor Kathy Chesney

Marilyn Seymour - Pianist
Congregational Hymns
“How Great Thou Art”
“Tell Me The Story of Jesus”

Robin Stoner - Louann Krogman

Karen Snider - Lola Anderson

All Relatives and Friends in Attendance

White River Cemetery
White River, South Dakota

  • Wanda, Cliff and family,
    I first met Russell when I went to work there for the summer of 1960, the first of 3 summers. He was a mentor to me, an example to follow, patient with my mistakes and taught me how fix fence among other things. That first summer we traveled all day to Wyoming to pick up a stallion for his 10 mares; 2 years later we were breaking and training those colts. So many experiences, so many good times. I will surely miss his humor, his ready laugh and friendship.
    ~ Kent Thomas, MD Oklahoma (9/7/2017)
  • Wanda, so sorry to hear about your loss, Thinking of your family. ~ Gerrie Barry Sturgis, SD (9/7/2017)
  • Wanda, Cliff and family - I have the most special memories of Russ! I could always count on a great hug, story and words of gentle
    wisdom from him. Missing him and all of you. Prayers for comfort for all of you. I am sure his reunion in heaven with all his family and friends will be a joyous one!!!
    ~ Chris Carlson Walton 22710 Hwy. 385 (9/7/2017)
  • RIP Uncle Russ!! ~ Mary (Barry) Hogan Mesa, AZ (9/7/2017)
  • My condolences to Wanda, family and many friends. ~ Carolyn Carr Reed Green Valley, AZ (9/7/2017)
  • Wanda, Cliff, and Family,
    What a wonderful person this world has lost. Our family lived just across the White River growing up and we have so many treasured memories. Russ, Wayne Sanderson, and our father Gene Thomas were like little kids when they got together. Cutting silage, summer fallowing, mending fence, whatever the task when they got together it was FUN!!!! We will all miss this gentle giant but I'm sure he's part of a heavenly choir and we all look forward to that day we are
    reunited. Love, Joe and the whole Thomas Family
    ~ Joe Thomas St. Joseph, Michigan (9/7/2017)
  • So sorry for your loss. I will miss him. ~ Georgia Moos Philip, SD (9/7/2017)
  • Cliff , Kim, and boys,
    Sorry to here about the loss of your father and grandfather. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    ~ Jody Gittings Avon, SD (9/7/2017)
  • Cliff, what a great man, didn't know him long, but the first time I seen him at the nursing home I had a special place in my heart for him. I loved his smile. Hold the memories close. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. Take care, Karen ~ Karen Snider Philip, SD (9/7/2017)
  • Wanda and family, I'm so sorry to hear this news. You are in my thoughts. God Bless. ~ Vicky Hix Rapid City, SD (9/7/2017)
  • Wanda, Cliff, and family,
    Russ was the poster-child for the greatest generation. He could do anything and do it well. He built so many things and worked so hard but had fun at the same time. He was so kind to me as I was growing up. He got me out of so many messes and never got mad about any of them. I hope he knew how much we all admired and loved him.
    You are in our prayers. Brad and Marcia Astleford
    ~ Brad Astleford Dodge City, KS (9/7/2017)