‹ Return to Current Obituaries

Order Flowers now for guaranteed delivery before Elmer's visitation.

Elmer Olson

Fiksdal Funeral Service of Webster is in charge of the following arrangements: WEBSTER- Elmer Olson, 97 of Webster and formerly of Bristol died on Monday, March 09, 2009 at Sanford Hospital in Webster. His funeral will be at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, March 14, 2009 at Westside Wesleyan Church in Bristol, Rev. Matt Pribyl officiating. Rick Buhler, Marlys Buhler, and Dorothy Rydberg will provide special music. Lois Krueger is the organist and Dorothy Rydberg the pianist. A spring burial will be held later at the Bristol Cemetery. Honorary pallbearers will be his many friends and relatives. Active pallbearers will be his grandsons Lee, Aaron, Eric, Carl and granddaughters Lydia, Alyssa, and Rachel. Visitation will be at Fiksdal Funeral Service (fiksdalfuneral.com) in Webster on Friday 5-8 P.M. and prior to services on Saturday. Elmer Elias Olson was born December 26, 1911, north of Bristol in Lynn Township. He attended school in Bristol through the eighth grade, and then farmed with his father so his siblings could go to high school. He was baptized at Bergen Lutheran Church. He was confirmed at Bethesda Lutheran Church and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord at that time. He was drafted into the United States Army in the fall of 1942 and spent two winters at Camp White, Oregon. In the spring of 1944, he went with the 91st Infantry Division and joined General Matt Clark’s Fifth Army in liberating Italy. Called “Pappy” by his platoon mates because of his age, he earned a Division Citation for volunteering to rescue five wounded riflemen under heavy fire. He later received a Bronze Star. In 2004, he was among the 44 South Dakota WW II veterans featured in the book Blue Stars. While in Italy, he received a letter and photo from Elphia Easterby of Bristol. He returned from the war in 1945 and returned to Bristol, where he continued to farm. He married Elphia on Jan. 8, 1947, at the Holiness Methodist Church in Bristol, and they made their home across the street from the church. He sold his farm in 1947, worked at the Bristol Dairy for two years, and then began a carpentry career. From 1950 to 1991 when he retired, Elmer became the “man who built Bristol.” He dug holes for the streetlights and put in many of the town’s sidewalks. He built or worked on more than two-thirds of the homes in the community, as well as numerous buildings in the surrounding area. He built the Bristol Community Center, the Bristol Apartments, and Westside Wesleyan Church. In 2007, he was honored as the king at Bristol’s 125th anniversary celebration. At Westside Wesleyan, he served on the church board for more that 20 years. For many years, he arrived at church early to pray for the services and greet “first-comers so they didn’t come into an empty church.” He was still greeting and hugging on his final Sunday there—March 1. For decades, he was a prayer warrior for numerous friends and family, praying especially diligently for expectant mothers. After his wife died in 1995, Elmer lived alone in Bristol until 2005 when he broke his hip and moved to Heritage Village apartments in Webster until his death. A memorial fund has been established at Westside Wesleyan Church in his memory. Survivors include his two sons, the Rev. Wayne Olson of Poquoson, VA; and Dr. Lyle and Gwen Olson of Brookings; two sisters, Anita Russell and Maryann McFarland of Washington State; seven grandchildren: Lee Olson, Lydia (Scott) George, Eric Olson, Carl Olson, and Rachel Olson of Virginia; Aaron Olson and Alyssa Olson of Brookings, SD; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents Anton and Stella, brothers Paul, George, Christian, Art, Kenneth, and sister Millie. For his obituary and online registry, visit fiksdalfuneral.com.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elmer Olson, please visit our flower store.


Our sympathy to you. Danny and Marilyn Mattson

Danny & Marilyn Mattson Mar 18 2009 12:00 AM

Elmer did alot of remoldling for us on the farm. He was a quiet, gentle man. We enjoyed him around. George and Mick Dylla

Mick Dylla Mar 14 2009 12:00 AM

Lyle and family and Wayne and family, So many wonderful memories and so happy that your mom and dad are re-united in heaven. They were an extremely special couple and I am so blessed to have known them. I wish I would have been in the service on March 1 to get one of his last hugs!! Terry

Terry and Beth Buhler Mar 13 2009 12:00 AM

Our deepest sympathy for your/our great loss of this amazing prayer warrior and faithful man. I'm thankful to have had my usual hug from Elmer the last time I was home for a visit. Your families are in our thoughts and prayers at this time. Lovingly,

Dave & Amber (Jensen) Grayson Mar 13 2009 12:00 AM