Ralph Irving Olson
Ralph Irvin Olson, 83, Albert Lea, Minn., passed away Friday, May 12, 2017. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, May 22, at Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Albert Lea, Minn. Pastor James Kassera will officiate. Visitation will be held Sunday, May 21, at Bonnerup Funeral Service from 4-7 p.m. and one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorials may be directed to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Mayo Clinic Health System Hospice, the Naeve Health Care Association, or Education Foundation of Albert Lea.
Ralph Irving Olson was born Feb. 8, 1934 at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea, Minn., to Truman E. and Marie K. Olson. He was baptized and confirmed at First Lutheran Church, Albert Lea. He attended elementary school at Northside School (K-3) and Abbott School (4-6); attended Central Junior High (7-9) and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1952.
On Sept. 22, 1957, he married Marilyn J. Okland at First Shellrock Lutheran Church, Northwood. They had three daughters: Susan (Timothy) Madson, Sarah (Christopher) Allen, and Rachel Hermanson.
Ralph was an active member of Our Savior’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Albert Lea, where he taught Sunday school, led the Luther league, and held several offices including trustee, deacon, treasurer, and president. He represented the congregation at conventions of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and served on the synod’s Board of Trustees.
In October 1953, he began what would be a 45-year career at Interstate Power Company. He was to hold several positions of increasing responsibility over the years including Superintendent of Natural Gas Operations for the Albert Lea District, Assistant District Manager, and in 1993, was named District Manager. In 1996, Interstate merged with two other utilities to form Alliant Energy. In the newly formed company, Ralph held the position of Director of Customer Service until his retirement in 1998.
Ralph was proud of the community he called home all his life, and was active in the Albert Lea Jaycees, Toastmasters Club, Lions Club and the Junior Achievement organization. He held many board positions, including Chamber of Commerce, Freeborn County Historical Society, Greater Jobs Inc., Norwest Bank (now Wells Fargo), Naeve Healthcare Association, Mayo Clinic Health System, and the Education Foundation of Albert Lea.
Ralph and Marilyn enjoyed travelling together and made three trips to visit the homeland of their ancestors in Norway, Denmark, Germany and Holland. They researched and published family genealogies dating back to the 1500’s in some cases.
Ralph is survived by his wife and daughters; grandchildren: Cori (Jason) Boxrud, Matthew and Daniel Allen, and Joel Hermanson; several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: Robert T. Olson and Richard D. Olson; a sister, Kathleen Marie Olson; and son-in-law, Karl Hermanson.