Cover photo for Pastor James Olson's Obituary
Pastor James Olson Profile Photo
1939 Pastor James 2021

Pastor James Olson

April 29, 1939 — March 13, 2021

Pastor James Olson, 81, of Grand Island, NE and formerly of Sioux Falls passed away Saturday March 13, 2021 at a care center in Grand Island. Private funeral services for all family and invited friends will be 10:30 AM Saturday March 20, 2021 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Webster. Burial will be at Fron Lutheran Cemetery near Roslyn. Walk thru visitation will be 5-7 PM Friday March 19, 2020 at the funeral home. Jim was born April 29, 1939 in Webster, SD to Norman and Bernice (Peterson) Olson. Jim attended elementary country school and graduated from Roslyn High School. Following high school, Jim continued his education at Northern State University and later graduated from Augustana College. Jim returned to school at the Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN and received the Master of Divinity Degree on May 26, 1968. He became ordained as a pastor of the American Lutheran Church on July 16, 1968. In 1988, he received a Master of Theology Degree from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Jim wrote his exam on the “Relationship of Ethnicity and Lutheranism among Norwegian Americans”. By 1989, he completed all course work for a PHD degree at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Jim began his vocational career as a sixth-grade teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in Sioux Falls, SD. Jim received recognition for beginning a library in his classroom for his students, thus sharing his love of reading. Jim served as Lutheran Campus Minister at Stout State University in Menomonie, Wisconsin, Lutheran Campus Minister at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN and at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. In 1970-1972, Jim served as Children’s Editor, Division for Parish Education of the American Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Following that assignment, he became Director of Children’s Ministries for the American Lutheran Church. Later, Jim served congregations at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Our Savior’s Lutheran church in Englevale and Elliott, North Dakota. Jim served Faith Lutheran Church and First Lutheran in New Effington and Claire City, SD from 1989-1991. In 1991-2002, he served Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis, SD. From, 1995-2002, he, also, served as secretary of the South Dakota Synod, ELCA and completed his career serving as the Rostered Ministry Coordinator of the South Dakota Synod, ELCA in 2005. Jim was a member of First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Jim shared his knowledge through publications. He authored “History of the Lutheran Student Association of America” which was published in connection with the 100th Anniversary of the Lutheran Campus Ministry in 2007. He authored “South Dakota Norwegians,” Avisen, publication of the Norwegian-American Genealogical Association, Minneapolis, August, 2005. He authored “The Continuing Lutheran Discovery 1948-1980, Prairie Faith, Pioneering People, South Dakota District, ALC, 1981. Jim served as editor of the 2009 and 2011 Gudbrandsdalslget Yearbooks. Jim presented a paper “The Farther West, The Harder It Became” to the Western History Conference in 1995 and published in the History of Grace Lutheran Church in Sturgis, SD. Jim had many interests. He traveled to Norway twenty-five times, but, also, visited several other parts of Europe, Israel, Brazil, Argentina and Cameroon, Africa. His love for books, antiques and genealogy is well known. He was active in Norwegian Genealogy research for more than 30 years. Jim was named Genealogist of the year 2013 by the South Dakota State Genealogical Society. Jim was active in the Gudbrandsalslaget, an organization of Norwegian-Americans whose ancestors came from Gudbrandsdalen, Oppland, Norway. He served as president from 2003-2010 and 2015-2018. Jim turned his hobby of collecting antiques and books into a small business of selling them upon his retirement. He never lost his interest in collecting antiques and reading books. Jim is survived by his sister, Janice (Joe)Cook, brother, Jerry (Sylvia) Olson, nephew, Brandon Cook, nieces Heather (Aaron) Moen, Heidi Olson, Nikki (Ken) Gill and Jessica (Nick) Snaza, grandnieces Erika (Austin) Lureen, Skylar Moen, Ashley Moen, April Moen, Charlotte Gill, Mallory Snaza and grandnephews Cooper Gill, Owen Snaza, Carter Snaza and great grandnephew Caleb Lureen, in addition to many cousins. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Linda (Olson) Herrick and brother-in-law, Sylvester Herrick. Memorials are suggested to the endowment fund of the Gudbrandsalslaget.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Pastor James Olson, please visit our flower store.

Visits: 19

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers