Woodrow Olson, 97 of Webster died on Monday, April 15, 2013 at Sun Dial Manor in Bristol. His funeral will be at 1:00 P.M. Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Westside Wesleyan Church in Bristol, Rev. Matt Pribyl officiating. Burial with military rites will be at Webster Cemetery. Visitation will be on Friday 5-7 P.M. with a 6:30 P.M. prayer service and prior to services on Saturday. Woodrow (Woody) Leonard Olson was born on Tuesday, July 20, 1915 to Olaf and Marta (Videgran) Olson on the family farm near Rutland, North Dakota. He was baptized in the Rutland Baptist Church. He attended country school through the 8th grade near his home. After he received his education he hired out as a farm hand for area farmers. Woody was a great patriot and proudly served in WWII. In 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army, but not wanting to “walk through the war”, he walked across the street instead, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He took his basic training at San Diego and was assigned to the USS San Francisco, which was the second most decorated war ship in World War II. During his enlistment he was on the ship from New Zealand to the Aleutian Islands and he received 15 Battle Stars, one for each of the major actions and battles he survived. He was honorably discharged in December 1945 and returned to Rutland to farm. On June 12, 1948 he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Dorothy Westra, at Rutland Baptist Church. Woody began farming near Rutland, but he contracted tuberculosis. Because of his illness he was unable to continue farming. He then chose to take training in shoe repair through the GI Bill. The couple moved to Kansas City for the training. In May 1949 they returned to Rutland and opened a shoe repair shop. In 1954 they moved to Webster and opened Olson’s Shoe Repair business in a small stone building in the alley off Main street. In 1968 they moved the business to Main street, and named it Olson’s Family Shoe Store. They sold the business in 1976, and Woody retired, but he was “good for another hundred-thousand miles”. He enjoyed an active retirement and worked road construction, farming, and joyously drove school bus routes, including “the tough Wallace route”, for over 25 years. Many of his bus kids may recall having ice cream with Woody and Dorothy at their home on the last day of school each year. He entered Sun Dial Manor in June 2007 and was a great joy to the staff there, many of whom had ridden on his bus routes. Woody loved his Lord, and was a faithful member of Westside Wesleyan Church in Bristol where he served as a greeter with a killer handshake. He was a member of Herbert McKennett Post 40 American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and was awarded a life membership in the Webster V.F.W. Post. Most days you could find him enjoying a cup of coffee with friends in Webster. Woody knew no strangers. Everyone was a friend he hadn’t met yet. He enjoyed gardening with Dorothy. He was a family man and his greatest joy was spending time with his wife and his seven “prunehounds”, as he called his children. He adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Woody and Dorothy had several families-taking in children whom they babysat, some who lived with them to finish high school, some whose parents couldn’t be present for them, and many who needed guidance. No matter how little they had, there was always room for one more at the table. Woody is remembered by many of these kids for his famous growl and his love of honey. The Lord put on the coffee pot and gently called Woody home on Monday, April 15, 2013 at Bristol, South Dakota, at the age of 97 years, 8 months and 26 days, or as Woody would say, “ ‘Pert near 98”. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy of Webster; his children, Lynda (David) Bruner of Bel Air, MD, Everett (Sandy) Olson of Marysville, WA, Ramona (John) Woodman of Aberdeen, SD, Darlene Maxwell of Mound, MN, Carolyn Olson of St. Marys, KS, Twyla Olson of Webster, SD and David (Jenell) Olson of International Falls, MN; three grandchildren, Heather Sapp of Raeford, NC, Eric Wagner of LeCompte, KS and Ivy Wagner of Forrest Grove, OR; and six great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, step-mother, one brother and one sister.
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