Donald George Olson, age 78, of Minong, WI, passed away Thursday, October 24, 2019 at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, MN.
Don was born in Kenosha, WI, on August 3, 1941 and baptized as Dominick George Perona, the son of Nebrosie Perona and Jean Anderson. When he was about 4, his parents divorced, and, shortly after, his mother married Lester Olson who officially adopted Don in 1948 as his son, Donald George Olson. He graduated from Bradford High School in Kenosha with the Class of 1959.
His summers were spent in Oconto, WI, near Green Bay with his grandfather Olson who taught him how to enjoy the great outdoors. Don also had a neighbor who would include him in his family hunting trips to northern Wisconsin. He grew to love the life in the great north woods.
His first job as a teenager was delivering newspapers with which his dad occasionally helped. He also worked part-time at the neighborhood A & P store. He attended DeVry Technical School in Chicago, graduating in 1961 with his Associates Degree. At that time he married Diane Stange.
Work took the family to Salina, Kansas, where they welcomed their daughter, Valerie, in 1961, and Don started his career in the technology field, which included employment with Raytheon and NASA. His employment required relocating many times across the country, including time in Slidell, Louisiana, where their second daughter, Colleen, was born in 1964. The family settled in Bensenville, IL, and became members of Grace Lutheran Church where they met Marge and Tom Hueser in 1972. Their friendship introduced Don to Minong, WI, where Tom had a cottage built on an old homestead property. Don loved his time there fishing and hunting. Don and his family moved to California for a year, and then again to Boston, MA, for eight years, but several times a year he always returned to the Chicago area and Kenosha, and occasionally to Green Bay.
Upon leaving his job in Boston, the family once again returned to live in the Chicago area. In addition to his job, Don enjoyed working with Tom, learning auto repair and solar installations. The family settled in Streamwood, IL, where Don and Diane purchased their first home, a condo, in 1986. Later that year, Valerie married Mark De Rosch in Kenosha. Their son, Trevor, was born in 1990, and from an early age became to “Papa” what Don had been to his grandfather.
Don’s dear friend, Tom, passed away at the end of 1993, and Don’s wife, Diane, passed in July of 1994. Shortly afterwards, Don and Marge got together, deciding to marry on June 15, 1996. In their discussions about retirement, Don requested two things of Marge: that she become a fan of his beloved Green Bay Packers; and that they relocate to Wisconsin. In 2007, after beginning reconstruction of Tom and Marge’s cottage turning it into a year-round home, they moved to Minong. Don always said that moving and living there was like being in heaven to him, and he always looked up to a sunny sky thanking his Heavenly Father.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Margaret (nee Precht) Olson; his daughters, Valerie (Mark) De Rosch and Colleen (Jim) Quaid; stepdaughters, Holly (Jason) Gravitt; his grandchildren, Trevor De Rosch, Christopher Davis, Michael Davis, Wade Gravitt and Charlotte Gravitt.
In addition to his parents, Don was preceded in death by his sister, Carol.
A memorial service will be held at noon on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at New Hope Church in Minong, Wisconsin.
To plant a tree in memory of Donald George Olson, please visit our tribute store.