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Merlin H. "Oley" Olson, age 61

Enterprise, Alabama

     Merlin was born March 24, 1940 on a ranch southwest of Interior, SD, the son of Elmer and Vada (Stone) Olson. He received his education, grades 1-12, in Interior, Kadoka and Hill City.

     As a young man he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. During his Army career he received his bachelors degree at Adams State College in Alamosa, CO. After 3 years of service he was discharged.

     He returned to Rapid City and joined the S.D. National Guard. While in the National Guard he completed Officer's Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Merlin served 2 tours of duty in Vietnam as a Cobra helicopter gunship pilot. He received many awards, which include the Silver and Bronze Stars and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. After returning from Vietnam, he served at various duty stations including Ft. Benning, GA; Ft. Rucker, AL; Ft. Bliss, TX; Korea and Ft. Carson, CO. After 20 years of active duty service he retired as a major. He then returned to Ft. Rucker where he was a Cobra helicopter gunship flight instructor; a position he held until he retired in 1997.
     He was united in marriage to Marlene Kummer on November 18th, 1961. They were blessed with 3 children: Suzanne, Rhonda and Steven.
     Known as "Oley" to friends and family, his interests included classic cars, collecting guns and landscaping his country home in Alabama. Merlin was a member of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the National Rifle Association.

     He is survived by his former wife Marlene of Goldsboro, NC; daughters Suzanne Kolbeck and her husband Todd, Chesapeake, VA; and Rhonda Olson, Goldsboro, NC; son Steven Olson and his wife Connie, Rapid City; granddaughters Jessica and Tanya; brother Dolan Olson and his wife June, Cloudcroft, NM; three sisters Vyla Thompson, Port Angeles, WA; Myrna Olson and Elma Reynolds, both of Hill City; and numerous friends and relatives.

Merlin was preceded in death by his parents
     Funeral services for Merlin H. "Oley" Olson, age 61, of Enterprise, Alabama were held 10:00 a.m. Thursday, April 26, 2001 at St. Therese The Little Flower Catholic Church (532 Adams St.) in Rapid City, South Dakota with Father Brian Lane officiating.

Merlin passed away Friday, April 20th, 2001, at the home of his daughter in Goldsboro, NC.
Visitation was from 2pm to 7pm on Wednesday, April 25th, at Behrens Mortuary and one hour before services. Services were at 10am Thursday, April 26th, at St. Therese the Little Flower, in Rapid City. Burial was in the Black Hills National Cemetery with military honors.

A memorial has been established.

Rush Funeral Home of Philip is in charge of arrangements.



Noel Byerly                   Tom Stone

Gary Stone                    Dick Stone

Wade Reynolds         Bart Reynolds


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