Alberta Shirley Olson

Alberta Shirley Olson

Born just three days after the signing of the Armistice ending World War I, Alberta Shirley Olson passed away in her home in Ely, Minnesota in the early morning hours of September 14, 2019 in the company of her daughter Diane and youngest son David. In her later years, she had two goals: to live past 100 and to never move out of the home she so loved. She accomplished both.

Alberta was born to Mary Louise (Perrault) Snell and Albert Roger Snell in Brainerd, MN on November 14, 1918. She grew up in Parkville, MN and was a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Virginia, MN. She also attended the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. She married Arthur Norman Olson in 1940. During World War II, Alberta joined the Women’s Army Corps and served as a surgical nurse at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, CO while her husband served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific. After the war they lived in Virginia, MN where all her children were born. In 1962 the family moved to Citrus Heights, CA when most of the mines on the Range shut down.

In 1980 Alberta returned to Minnesota and settled in Ely to be near her sister Marguerite Hogan. She was a faithful parishioner of Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church and worshiped there for nearly 40 years. As a member of the Ely Watercolor Club she exhibited in their annual shows. Another of her favorite pastimes was hiking the northern Minnesota woods where she delighted in the wildlife, plants and flowers, picking berries, Fall foliage and sunsets over the abundant lakes. She was a familiar sight walking through town visiting friends, the library, the Senior Center and doing her grocery shopping. After purchasing her own home in 2002, she enjoyed her flower gardens, feeding and watching all her bird visitors and spoiling the chipmunk who lived in her yard. Alberta was an avid reader and master crossword puzzle solver which she continued to past 100.

Alberta is survived by her children Diane Olson (Harry) Avila (Fairfax, VA); Danny (Christina) Olson (Pollock Pines, CA); David (Robyn) Olson (Ely, MN) and daughter-in-law Shirley (Dennis) Olson (Britt, MN). In addition she leaves behind grandchildren Kyle Olson (Britt, MN); Keith (Diana) Olson (Finlayson, MN); Kevin (Gina) Olson (Bemidji, MN); Daniele (Tho Nguyen) Avila (Washington, DC); Jonathan (Jessica) Avila (Austin, TX); Alexander Avila (Fairfax, VA); Kristopher Olson (Placerville, CA); Robin Olson (Orangeville, CA); Faith Olson (Pollock Pines, CA); Jenny German-Olson (Sacramento, CA); John (Kayla) Olson (Camino, CA); Jackie (Steve) Crawford (Pollock Pines, CA); Alyssa Riley (Placerville, CA); Taylor Epley (Sacramento, CA) and great grandchildren Hanna, Heather and Hunter Olson (Bemidji, MN); Jesse and Josey Olson (Finlayson, MN); Soren and Julien Nguyen (Washington, DC); Login Wells and Evan Crawford (Pollock Pines, CA) and James and Benjamin Riley (Placerville, CA) along with great, great granddaughter Myla Zuehlke (Bemidji, MN). Almost like her own children were nieces Kevin Hogan (White Bear Lake, MN) and Michele (Timothy Deyak) Hogan (N. Bethesda, MD) who did much to make her life comfortable and happy.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Arthur Norman Olson (Duluth, MN); brother Leonard Snell (Parkville,MN); sister Marguerite Snell (Robert) Hogan (Ely, MN); oldest son Dennis Olson (Britt, MN) and daughter-in-law Christina Olson (Pollack Pines, CA).

A funeral mass will be celebrated at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church, Ely, MN on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 11:00 am with visitation one hour prior to the service. A reception will follow mass at the church. Interment at Calvary Cemetery, Virginia, MN is planned for the Spring.