Wayne Robert Olson of Prior Lake passed away on January 6, 2017 at the age of 85. A Memorial Gathering will be held on Sunday, January 15, 2017 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation; 4565 Pleasant Street SE; Prior Lake, MN. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, January 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM with visitation one-hour prior and lunch immediately after at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church; 3611 North Berens Road NW; Prior Lake, MN. Pastors Laila Barr and Steve Bonesho will preside, and Wayne’s sons, David and Gregg will act as urn and flag bearers. Military honors will be provided by the Prior Lake Honor Guard, and Wayne will be laid to rest at Spring Lake Cemetery.
On September 13, 1931 Wayne was born to parents, Robert and Hazel (Westlund) Olson. He was the eldest of three and loved growing up on his family’s dairy farm in Clayton, WI where he developed a good work ethic. As a boy, Wayne had a strong curiosity. He loved to learn and tinker with things. He especially enjoyed playing the piano and working on lawn mowers.
After graduating from Amery High School, Wayne attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he earned a degree in engineering. This is also where he met the love of his life, Virginia (“Ginny”) Clumpner, a fellow student at the University of Wisconsin. Their eyes met across the dinner table at a gathering of fellow believers. After Wayne walked her home that evening, he knew that Ginny was the girl for him.
During college, Wayne enlisted in the ROTC, and after graduating from college in 1953, he served for two years with the United States Army, based in Germany much of the time, proudly serving his country. Shortly afterwards and after an honorable discharge, he and Ginny were married on October 1, 1955. They were blessed with four children and settled in St. Paul to raise their family. In 1968, they built a house on Prior Lake where they remained until 2006. Wayne spent 30+ years working for Unisys (formerly Univac). He was an electrical engineer and designed defense components and integrated circuit testing for government systems. Wayne was also involved in developing a number of patents for Unisys.
Outside of work, Wayne enjoyed carpentry, photography and woodworking. Wayne was a wonderful pianist, playing every night at home, both classical and contemporary music. He loved singing with the Lakelanders Barbershop Chorus and the church choir, which he did until just recently. He was an active member of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, and also, more recently, Living Joy Lutheran Church. He had a special place in his heart for mission work, both locally and internationally, especially Africa. Wayne collected antique tools, loved to learn and enjoyed biblical archeology and genealogy. He was active for almost 20 years in a monthly dinner group called the Collaborative Cuisine & Camaraderie (“CCC”) group, the Willing Extra Years of Zest (“WXYZ”) group from church, an electrical engineers group from Unisys, held season tickets for the Minnesota Orchestra, still attended his high school’s class reunion and had started attending his extended family’s annual reunion in Wisconsin. He made it a point to travel to every grandchild’s birthday celebration, even if it took him to the Chicago area or the Atlanta area.
After Ginny passed away in July, 2010, Wayne leaned on his wonderful family and his deep faith to help him through a difficult time. He took it upon himself to try new recipes in the kitchen, having not cooked hardly at all prior to Ginny’s passing, getting very excited when cooking was a success.
In March 2014, Wayne invited his friend and neighbor, Birgitta Greene, to accompany him to a concert at Orchestra Hall. Wayne and Birgitta quickly discovered that they had so much in common and truly enjoyed each other’s company. Their friendship grew deeper every day, and Birgitta quickly became another love in Wayne’s life. Together they enjoyed attending concerts, listening to classical music, going to the Swedish Institute, watching movies and shows on PBS, and sharing meals together. Soon Birgitta was joining Wayne at their monthly dinners with friends in the CCC group and the WXYZ group from church and attending his barbershop chorus events.
Wayne had many hobbies and interests, but Christ was first in his life, and his family was a close second. Wayne lived humbly and set a wonderful example for his family. He was a mentor to many and treated everyone with kindness. The past few weeks, Wayne became ill, but he was able to enjoy a beautiful Christmas Eve at home with family. He had been getting physical therapy and occupational therapy at the Masonic Home in Bloomington to become strong enough to return home. While taking a short morning nap there, Wayne passed away peacefully and unexpectedly on January 6, 2017. Wayne will be remembered as a compassionate man and a devout Christian. He had a zest for learning and there was always a curious sparkle in his eye.
He will be deeply missed by his children, Chris (John) Ricketts, Gregg (Diane) Olson, David (Jody Bylund) Olson, Steve (LeAnn Penas) Olson; grandchildren, Jenna Ricketts, Grayson Ricketts, Stephanie (Alvin Stone) Olson, Brandon Olson, Katie Olson and Jacob Olson; great-grandchild, Elayna Stone; sister, Donna (Roger) Barrett; special friend and companion, Birgitta Greene.
Wayne was greeted in Heaven by his wife, Virginia Olson; parents, Robert and Hazel Olson; sister, Marilyn (Otto) Ped.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation proudly serves the Olson family. www.BallardSunderFuneral.com
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