Obituary for Rev. Milton J. Olson

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(January 13, 1930- May 11, 2010)
The Rev. Milton J. Olson passed away at the age of 80 on Tuesday, May, 11, 2010 in Cedar Hill, NM. Milton was born to Swedish immigrants, William and Hilma (Beckstrom) Olson, on Jan 13, 1930. He grew up on a dairy farm in Fosston, MN, graduating from high school in 1948. He then attended Gustavus Adolphus College for four years, earning a B.A. in English/Speech Education. From 1952-55, he served in the military, where he received training in Portuguese at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. After being stationed as a military intelligence translator in Arlington, VA for three years, he felt called to Lutheran ministry. He enrolled in Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, IL and attained a Master’s of Divinity in 1958. While establishing a mission congregation, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, in Grandview, MO, he met and married Carol J. Frohn, who had likewise been raised on a Midwestern farm outside of White City, KS. They had two daughters before being called to mission work in southern Brazil in 1963. While working in the Rio Grande do Sul region, Rev. Olson was first involved with parish ministry in Pedro Osorio and the surrounding area. He and his family later relocated to Porto Alegre, where he served as Assistant to the President of the Lutheran Church in Brazil. Upon returning to the United States in 1969, now with a family of four daughters, Rev. Olson served for one year at First Lutheran Church and three years at St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Kansas City, MO. In 1972 he accepted a call to serve as Secretary for Latin America for the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) - Division for World Missions and Ecumenism. Based in New York City, Rev. Olson directed LCA world relief work occurring throughout Latin America and the Caribbean for the next five years. Seeking more time with his growing family, Rev. Olson returned once more to parish ministry in Manhattan, KS at First Lutheran Church. He served until 1988 at First Lutheran, when he once again assumed an administrative role with the ELCA Central States Synod, leading stewardship and evangelism efforts in the four state region of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Oklahoma. After “retiring” from 40 years of formal Lutheran ministry, he concluded his service with the ELCA church Stewardship Key Leader Program, which involved assisting 30+ congregations with resource development. After 30 years in Manhattan, KS, and with advancing Parkinsons, Milton moved with Carol to be near three of his daughters and nine grandchildren in Cedar Hill, NM. There he continued to enjoy activities that had long kept him vital--- visiting with family members, participating in birthday and holiday celebrations, watching Kansas State University basketball and football games, introducing the grandchildren to golf, enjoying the evening PBS News Hour, and supporting St. Mark’s Lutheran Church inner-city ministries. He retained his characteristic good humor, warmth, and genuine interest in the concerns of others throughout his last evening, surrounded by all of his family members, He passed away peacefully the following morning, after the “Amen” of Carol’s reading of The Lord’s Prayer with him. Survivors include his wife, Carol, four daughters – Judy, Christine, Catherine, and Angela, nine grandchildren – Kylie, Kiana, Jacob, Sophia, Townes, Dylan, Grace, Caleb, and Tyson, and two sisters – Isabelle (Izzie) Anderson and Helen Olson.
Memorial donations may be designated for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church – Inner-city Outreach Ministries and mailed to Judy Olson-Benson, P.O. Box 2135, Fairplay, CO 80440.