Obituary: Roger and Jean Olson
March 10, 2021 – December 26, 2021
Roger Allen Olson and Jean Ellen Olson of Mesquite, NV (formerly of Hayden, CO) passed away last year due to complications caused by cancer. Roger died on December 26, 2021, at the age of 78 and Jean died on March 10, 2021, at the age of 75.
Roger was born in 1943 to Howard and Olive Olson in Madelia, MN, the oldest of four children. Jean was born in 1945 to Lyle and Mary Powell of Yale, IA, a fraternal twin with two older brothers (although one not by much). Their paths entwined when Jean’s family moved to Madelia when Jean was in high school. They met as students, fell in love as young adults, and were married the year following Jean’s graduation. They remained in Madelia until Roger was drafted into the Army in 1966 and were stationed in Germany while Roger served.
Back in the States, Roger and Jean welcomed the birth of their first son, Erik, and were soon drawn to the allure of the Rocky Mountains, settling in Steamboat Springs, CO where they could focus on raising a family while indulging in a healthy dose of skiing and sunshine. In their spare time, Roger worked as a mason (bricklayer) and Jean as a seamstress. The birth of their second son, Nils, completed the Olson family, and they soon moved down the road to Hayden, CO to their beloved ranch. Roger’s and Jean’s days were filled with giving an unfettered landscape useful purpose, caring for a broad array of critters big and small, and teaching their sons the “Cowboy Way.” Roger and Jean turned a dilapidated ranch house into a home and remained in Hayden until 2003 when warmer climates called them to Mesquite, NV. There they immensely enjoyed all retirement had to offer and spent their days together golfing, gaming and gathering with friends and family who came to visit them in the desert.
When Roger wasn’t laying bricks or laying tracks in fresh powder on the slopes, he would take to the skies as an accomplished hobby pilot. His life-long love of flying culminated in the construction of his own airplane, an RV-6 which he completed in 1993. For over fifty years he delighted many with his ariel prowess and daring stunts, relishing the freedom he found in the clouds. His love of flying continued long after he was no longer able to take off from the ground.
Jean had incredible talent for sewing and channeled her creative passion and fierce independence into a successful business venture known as Dry Creek Leather. As a leather artisan for over 40 years, Jean created beautiful handbags and wallets for customers across the country, who were impressed with her unique designs and skillful ability to create functional and durable art. Jean was also a voracious reader, an accomplished quilter, and a strategic puzzler who loved playing games with friends in her social network.
Roger and Jean are survived by their children and grandchildren in Colorado: Erik, his wife Lorrie, and their sons Kenneth and Karl, and Nils, his wife Jami, and their daughter Avelyn. Roger is also survived by his siblings and their families: Barbara Beckman (John), Jeff (Karen), and Brad (DiAnn). Jean was preceded in death by her siblings, Mark and Jack.
A joint Celebration of Life memorial will be held for Roger and Jean in Steamboat Springs, CO in June 2022, hosted by their children in conjunction with the Yampa Valley Funeral Home, followed by a private ash scattering ceremony.
The family asks that in lieu of any flowers or gifts, please consider donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of Roger and Jean’s legacy.
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