Posted 1/20/15 (Tue)
Alice M. Olsen, age 94, died Saturday, Jan. 10, at Rice Care Center in Willmar. Alice was born May 20, 1920, in Berg, N.D., to Anton and Thea Anderson. She was their fourth daughter, later followed by two sons, and was a true daughter of the prairie. Alice was baptized and confirmed at Clear Creek Lutheran Church near their farm home. She attended the Berg school, a one-room country school, through eighth grade, and graduated from Watford City High School in 1937.
After high school, Alice enrolled in a business course in Minot, N.D., and worked in a store, where she tested cream, sold eggs and gas, and bought skunks, her least favorite chore. She then moved to Seattle to attend business college. In February 1943, in the midst of World War II, she enrolled in the Navy WAVES, doing her boot camp and training in Madison, Wis. She worked as a radioman in Washington, D.C., until being honorably discharged in December 1945.
Following her service in the Navy, she returned to Minneapolis, and on June 14, 1947 married Ludvig Olsen, who was also from northwestern North Dakota. They lived in Montevideo and Willmar, Minn., before moving to a farm south of Willmar. Their son Ted was born in 1948, and daughter Sue, in 1952.
Ludvig installed farm drain tile, and Alice helped with the bookkeeping, while maintaining their home and yard. She grew a large garden each summer; doing lots of canning, pickling and freezing in the fall. She sewed most of Susan’s clothes for many years, and also made many quilt tops for Lutheran World Relief during her lifetime.
Alice was a member of Vinje Lutheran Church for 65 years. In addition to sewing “relief quilts,” she helped with lefse making, served funerals, and belonged to a circle for many years.
She was known for her baking, especially Norwegian goodies including lefse, flatbread, and cookies like sandbakkles, krumkaker and spritz. She was also a walker long before walking became popular! She walked with her friends, and walked a number of years in the CROP walk to raise money for charity. Among her friends and relatives, Alice was also known for her humorous stories and her wit.
Lud and Alice enjoyed winters in Arizona for 32 years, and also traveled to Norway, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and many other U.S. states.
Alice is survived by her son, Ted (Vivian) Olsen; daughter, Sue (Jim) Meier; four grandchildren, Renae (Thomas) Torborg, Ryan (Cherry) Olsen, Heather (Rafael) Marquez, Laura (Ray) Lanz; thirteen great-grandchildren, Lucy and Jimmy Torborg, Sarah, Karl, Anneka, Greta, Erik and Ivar Olsen; Daniel, Gabriel and Elena Marquez; and Rebecca and Ray Lanz; brother, Gerald (Jackie) Anderson; and nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ludvig; her parents; three sisters, Margaret, Phyllis, and Lucille; and one brother, Melvin.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 16, at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Harvey Anderson Funeral Home, and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery with Military Honors by American Legion Post #167 of Willmar. Memorials preferred to Feed My Starving Children, 403 93rd Ave NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433 or Salvation Army, PO Box 734, Willmar, MN 56201. www.hafh.org.