Shirley Ann Olson, age 64, of Buffalo, died Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009, at the Buffalo Hospital.
She was born Feb. 29, 1944, in Hibbing.
A 1962 graduate of the Elbow Lake High School, she attended St. Cloud University and St. Cloud Business School. Later, she studied art and interior design at the University of Minnesota.
Shirley Ann (nee Nelson) married Duane Olson Dec. 22, 1962, at Erdahl Lutheran Church in Erdahl. While they lived in Floodwood, Shirley taught piano lessons from their home.
A few years later, they moved to St Paul, where Shirley volunteered at schools and church.
They next moved to the St. Cloud area, where Shirley Ann owned The House of Tole art studio, selling her work and teaching painting. She traveled, selling her paintings, and attended Priscilla Houser’s workshops in Tulsa, OK.
Ten years later, she and Duane moved to Minot, ND, where she worked for the YWCA. As an executive director, Shirley wrote grants, operated fundraisers, and developed many needed programs to help women and their children. She also served on the Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador.
In 1996, they moved to Buffalo. She began volunteering for the community and soon began working for Wright County as a community colaborative program director. From her office at the Howard Lake Elementary School, Shirley co-ordinated and bolstered all area after-school activities of church, private, and school groups. She wrote grants to help fund these programs so area children could have fun, safe activities.
Shirley loved making a difference and only retired because poor health forced her to do so. She enjoyed hosting and organizing events, helping and being with people.
She faithfully attended Friday knitting at the Yarn Shop, and the Wednesday morning card club.
An excellent seamstress, Shirley enjoyed sewing her children’s and grandchildren’s clothing. She liked to garden, and belonged to the America In Bloom committee. She also enjoyed making and doing crafts, using a myriad of media, such as stained glass.
Shirley was always active in the churches to which she belonged, whether it was teaching Sunday school in Floodwood, or volunteering with the Women of Zion and Harvest of Hands. While at Zion, she was a member of the Joyful Ringers bell choir, head cook for many lutefisk dinners, hosted many Prayer Sisters teas, and made blankets with the quilting group.
Shirley is survived by her husband, Duane; children, Sheila (Pat) Allen of Monticello, Lisa (Hans) Scheller of Chesterton, IN, Kyle Olson of Mankato, and Renee (William) Scruitsky of Peyton, CO; sister Ardella (Donald) Schmidt of Devore, CA; brother Ralph (Gloria) Elj of Litchfield; and grandchildren, Michaela Allen, Hannah and Delaney Scheller, Cade and Brock Olson, and Rebekah and Joshua Scruitsky.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Marley Beltrand and Alvina Leona Margaret (nee Mahla) Nelson.
Funeral services were Sunday, Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo with visitation for one hour before the service at the church. The Reverend Becky Sogge. officiated. Marlene Mohwinkel was the organist, and special music was provided by the Joyful Ringers bell choir. Private interment was at Kahbakong Cemetery in Taylors Falls.
Casket bearers were William Scruitsky, Hans Scheller, Rodd Olson, Ryan Olson, and Pat Allen.
The Peterson Chapel-Buffalo assisted the family. Online condolences may be made at www.thepetersonchapel.com