John Thomas Olson, age 69, of Dassel, died Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at Lakeview Ranch in Dassel.
He was born Jan. 17, 1948, in Minneapolis, the youngest of three boys.
His parents, Al and Virginia Olson, step mother Margaret Olson, and oldest brother Dick Olson preceded John in death.
John’s brother, Robert Olson and his wife, Susan, live in Brainerd.
John graduated from Edina High School in 1966. He earned a bachelor’s degree in art education at St. Cloud State University, and his master’s degree in art education from the University of Minnesota.
John met his wife, Kay, during their freshman orientation at St. Cloud State. That night as he walked Kay to her dorm, he said, “You are the girl I am going to marry.” John and Kay were married June 20, 1970, at First English Lutheran Church in Faribault.
Their marriage was blessed with a son, Christopher John Olson, who married his own sweetheart, Cassie Jo Fredrickson, in 2004. Their children, Ashlee Jo Olson, age 11, and Cameron Christopher Olson, age 9, instantly became the joy of John and Kay’s lives.
John’s artistic talents and love of teaching made a perfect match. In 34 years of teaching art in the Mounds View School District, he motivated and influenced countless students to love art and learning. He was a mentor to young teachers and a lifelong learner himself.
His original pottery creations remain family favorites and were featured in the Uptown Art Fair, as well as several Minnesota galleries. John loved creating Raku pottery pieces that often featured leaf designs.
His woodcuts and turpentine resist paintings showcased his knowledge and love of Minnesota birds.
John’s Christian faith deepened through the years. He knew and loved the Lord as his personal savior, and shared his faith with others as a Stephen Ministry leader, an active member of Cursillo, and as a group leader in the Colonial Church of Edina’s job transition program. He was a regular usher and communion server at church, studied the Bible, and prayed with fellow teachers weekly.
During John’s years at the Lakeview Ranch in Dassel, Pastor Keith and other members of the church visited each month, lifting up God’s grace and serving communion, blessed food for John’s journey. During his long illness, John remained John, child of God, created in God’s own image, and held in the palm of God’s own hand.
An avid vegetable gardener, John was also known for planting sunflowers every year. He loved hunting, fishing, camping, feeding the backyard birds, golfing, and spending time with family and friends.
A memorial service took place Thursday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Dassel, with the Rev. Keith Carlson officiating. There was a time to gather with the family at the church one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements were with the Johnson Funeral Home of Dassel.