In Memoriam: Donald Leroy Olson (May 20, 1931 – Aug. 22, 2021)

September 2021 Posted in Obituary

Donald (Don) Leroy Olson was born on a farm in Long Prairie, Minnesota on May 20, 1931, to Paul and Agnes Olson.
He passed away at age 90 in Silverton, Oregon, Aug. 22, 2021.

After graduating from Sequoia High School in Long Prairie in 1949, Don left the farm and joined the U.S. Navy training as an aviation electrician in Jacksonville, Florida. He was soon transferred to the West Coast where he met Betty Jean Ruth in San Jose, California. Don was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1952 and married the love of his life, Betty, Oct. 30, 1953.

Don started a career at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, California in 1955 where he worked 33 years, retiring as Chief Telescope Operator and supervisor on board the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. Don and Betty started their retirement years in Silverton beginning in 1988.

Don is survived by his wife of 67 years, Betty; son, Scot (Catherine); son, Marc (Pamela); and daughter, Jody (Larry) Fredrickson. He was blessed with three grandchildren, Paul, Eric and Christa, and one great-granddaughter, Marigold.

A celebration of Don’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 18 at Silverton First Baptist Church. Private inurnment was held at Willamette National with military honors. Arrangements with Unger Funeral Chapel – Silverton.

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