Elard Gene Olson, 85, of Glenville, MN passed away peacefully on June 16, 2023 at Mayo Health System in Austin, MN, surrounded by his loving family.
Elard was born on March 30, 1938 on the family farm in Glenville, MN to Christ and Lillian (Heaney) Olson. He attended country school through 8th grade and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1956. Following graduation, he entered the work force for a short time before enlisting in the United States Army in 1961. In August of 1963 he returned from his service with the Army and began working at DeSoto Produce, where he met his wife, Florence (Willaby).
On September 5, 1964 he and Florence were wed at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN and they continued to make Glenville their home where they raised their family. Elard’s family was his pride and joy and was the proudest father, grandfather, and great grandfather. The moments that he spent with his family were his most treasured memories. Throughout the years they enjoyed an annual family vacation to Spirit of the North Resort on Leach Lake; Elard loved to fish. Elard also enjoyed a few trips with his sons to the Boundary Waters. As a sports fan he was a loyal fan of the MN Vikings and MN Twins teams; although he enjoyed watching any team play baseball.
Elard had a zest for life and stayed active with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Bike rides always accompanied a trip to the Shortstop in Glenville where Elard was sure to buy everyone their favorite treat. Several years ago Elard joined the fun at his grandchild’s birthday party and roller skated with them! With a love for the outdoors he enjoyed road trips to check out the deer, watching the hummingbirds and finches that he would feed at their home, hunting, and admiring Flo’s rose bushes that she would grow in their front yard. As an early riser, he would start the day with making the best pancakes and waffles. Hours of card games were played thoughout any given day; Rummy if there was less than four people playing and 500 if there were four or more people. A score sheet always donned the kitchen table awaiting anyone who wanted to join in on a game. Elard and Flo would also make lefse together every year for their family to enjoy during the holidays.
Elard had a strong work ethic and took pride in supporting his family. After his job at DeSoto Produce, he became a boiler operator at Wilson Foods, and later Farmstead, he later retired from Schweigert. Following his retirement, he decided to go back to work at Greenview Rest Area and continued until he was 84. As a blood donor for the American Red Cross, Elard had donated 138 units of blood throughout his life. He was a devout Christian and member of First Lutheran Church in Glenville, MN. Elard’s bright smile, kind heart, and devotion to his family will be missed by all those who loved him.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife Florence “Flo” of 58 years; his children, Tarryl (Heide) Olson, Steve (Nicole) Olson, Tammy Kalvig, and Shellby (Darin Finley) Olson; grandchildren, Samantha (Ben) Kloos, Lillian, Katherine, and Tarryl Olson, Olivia (Dalex Hurley), Lucas, and Ella Olson, Cody (Rochelle), Tanner (McKenzie Besco), and Marissa Kalvig, and Mason (Chelsey Morrow & family) and Ethan (Kelsey) Choronzy; great grandchildren, Jonah and Logan Kloos, Alexis, Brantley, and Everly Kalvig, Chloey and Kaleb Kalvig, Grace Besco, and Makayla Pobanz; sister, LeAnn (Jim) Iseminger; brother, Truman (May Lou) Olson; sisters-in-law, Shirley Olson and Mary Olson; along with many nieces and nephews.
Elard is preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Elizabeth Olson and Gloria (LaVerne) Mueller; brothers, Curtis Olson, Orren (Alice) Olson, Gaylord Olson, Robert (Dorothy) Olson, and Ronald Olson; and son-in-law, Mike Kalvig.
A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at 1:00 PM at First Lutheran Church in Glenville, MN; Pastor Kent Otterman will officiate. Elard’s family will greet guests at a visitation on Monday, June 19, 2023 from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Bonnerup Funeral and Cremation Services in Albert Lea, MN and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Glenville, MN with Military Honors by the Freeborn County Honor Guard and Glenville American Legion.
Memorials may also be given in honor of Elard to First Lutheran Church, 140 3rd Ave SW, Glenville, MN 56036.