Cover photo for Russell "Russ" Olson's Obituary
Russell "Russ" Olson Profile Photo
1928 Russell 2020

Russell "Russ" Olson

March 23, 1928 — September 14, 2020

Albert Lea

Russell “Russ” P. Olson, 92, of Albert Lea, died Monday, September 14, 2020 at Thorne Crest Senior Living Community.

Russ was born in Albert Lea on March 23, 1928 to Edward “Eddie” and Martha (Bothum) Olson.

He was drafted into the United States Army as a Rifleman Sharpshooter and then to the National Guard.  While in the military, he was stationed at Camp Rucker in Alabama for a year and a half before being sent back to Albert Lea.

On March 20, 1951, Russ married the love of his life, Phillis “Phiz” Nelson in St. Petersburg, FL.  Together they raised two daughters: Nancy and Peggy.

Russ co-owned Albert Lea Ice and Fuel Co. with his father, Eddie; worked at Wilson Foods; and Albert Lea Mayo Pharmacy. Russ was an active member of the “Christ Episcopal Church”, was involved with the Jaycee’s, the American Legion, and some local civic groups.

In his younger days, Russ was known as “Albert Lea’s best dancer”.  Golfing was his true passion; he taught his sons-in-law and grandson how to play.  He even made a hole in one!  He enjoyed Monday night bowling league and won the “City Championship” in the late 50’s-early 60’s. Russ loved music so much that he taught himself play the piano by ear. He also loved singing, especially during the holidays and anywhere that had karaoke.  Somewhere out there, someone has the record he made. He was an avid sports fan, and enjoyed following the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, and Green Bay Packers.

Family was everything.  He will be remembered as kind and a true gentleman. His gentle sprit and love for his friends and family will be greatly missed.

Russ leaves behind his wife of nearly 70 years, Phiz; his daughters, Nancy (Thomas) Osetek and Peggy (Richard) Jensen; his grandchildren, Randi Osetek (Dameon Nagel); Toni (Darrel) Sorenson; Traci (Jared) Herka; and Kael (Robin) Jensen; his great-grandchildren, Remi Jensen and Kaelyn Jensen; and Jace, Cruz Russell, and Ryder Herka; his brother, Loring (Jinni) Olson; sisters-in-law, Lois Olsen and Julie (Dan) Osetek; brothers-in-law, James T. Nelson and Allan T. Nelson; along with many special nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Eddie and Martha; his brother and sister-in-law, Stuart and Lavonne Olson; his sisters-in-law, Wilma “Billie” Nelson and Susan Trammel; brother-in-law, Kenneth Olsen; and his mother and father-in-law, Edgar and Ella Nelson.

Public visitation will take place from 5:00-7:00pm Monday, September 21, 2020 at Bonnerup Funeral Service, and from 12:00-1:00pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.  Memorial services will be held at 1:00pm, Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at Bonnerup Funeral Service with Father Henry Doyle officiating, and with Military Honors provided by the Albert Lea Area Veterans.  No burial is planned at this time.

A special “thank you” to the entire staff at Thorne Crest, for taking such good care of Russ.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Russell "Russ" Olson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, September 21, 2020

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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