Russell LaVern Olson, 88, died of cancer peacefully at his Troy home on Saturday, June 18th, surrounded by his family.
Russ was born June 10, 1928 in Deary to Otto and Freda Nelson Olson. He was raised on the farm on Osterberg Road and learned at a very young age to work the farm. Russell used to ride his horse to Bear Creek School. He helped break the ground for the Dry Creek Cemetery where he will be laid to rest.
Dad held many jobs, at age 12 he cooked for the Lewis Mill and at 16 worked the logs at the mill. He graduated from Troy High School in 1947. After graduation the PBOL was formed with Ralph Payne, Lorn Brunton, Fritz Littlefield and Russ Olson. The company only lasted a few years when Fritz was killed in an accident. He then worked as the Troy Town Marshall twice, worked for the City and for Latah County.
In 1961 his life changed forever when he married Betty (Thompson) Barton and she brought four children into the marriage with her. The following year they had Sandra, and the family was complete. A year later, they all went to the courthouse and dad legally adopted and changed the four older children’s name to his.
Russ enjoyed dancing, especially the “polka” and that’s how he met Betty. He also enjoyed camping and fishing. In addition to his large family, he and Betty also had numerous foster children and later grandchildren, who referred to him as “GR”.
Betty preceded him in death in August 2003. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy Cox in 1987, and grandchildren Mickey Shane Baysinger in 1973, Jessica Lynn Johnson in 1991 and Jeremiah Johnson in 2007.
Russell is survived by his children, Shelley (Steve) Prater of Troy, Mike Olson of Spokane, Julie (Bruce) Davies of Wenatchee, WA, Pat Olson of Tekoa, WA and Sandra (Greg) Johnson of Troy. He also leaves 17 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren, a cousin Paul Nelson and a nephew, Wayne Cox.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 P.M., Friday, June 24, 2016 at the Troy Lutheran Church. A luncheon and time of remembrance will continue at the Church Social Hall.
The family suggests memorials to the Troy Ambulance Fund or to the Ronald McDonald House, 1015 West 5th St., Spokane, WA 99204.