Richard Olson

Olson, Richard 6 April 1935 - 19 January 2020 Dr. Richard E. Olson, 84, of Chaska, MN, died unexpectedly last week at his home. Richard was born in Willmar, MN, to Virgil and Margaret (Burns) Olson. He was a gifted high school athlete who played basketball, ran the hurdles, and quarterbacked the football team. He attended the College of Saint Thomas, and then the University of Minnesota for medical school. After graduation he did a medical residency in San Diego, and was then drafted into the U.S. peacekeeping forces following the Korean War. He had fond memories of serving in a MASH hospital and an artillery unit in Korea and providing medical care to local residents on the side. After returning to the United States, he married his high school sweetheart Florence Kempf and joined the practice of a medical school friend in Chaska. Florence and Richard settled happily in Chaska for the next 50 years, where they raised three children. He practiced medicine until age 78, when he retired to devote himself to his wife's homecare. Richard loved people and gave everyone he met his undivided attention. If he met someone, he wanted to know their story, and if he already knew their story, he wanted an update. His passion for medicine came from his true concern for the welfare of all people. He had a warm sense of humor and loved nothing more than sharing a noisy meal with friends and family. Yet he also adored the tranquility of sitting on a boulder next to a lake in the Boundary Waters with a book, a cigar, and a plastic cup of whiskey. He had boundless energy and was always awake before dawn with cup of coffee in his hand; his much-younger neighbors marveled at the hours he spent gardening and planting in the yard and his insistence at snowblowing the driveway himself. He never gave up trying to sharpen his skills at bridge, but his golf game stubbornly resisted improvement. He was an eclectic and curious reader who loved to engage others in conversation about the issues of the day. His home office overflowed with medical journals, piles of books and magazines, and 1960s jazz. He was generous, kind, patient, and compassionate, and will be dearly missed by his children, grand- children, family members, many friends, and former patients. Richard is survived by his children Kevin Olson (Ulrike Luderer), Shannon Olson (John Birge), and Mikaela Vanderperren (Mitch), grandchildren Annika, Melena, and Ian Vanderperren, sisters Eileen Halloran and Mary Andrews, and a large extended family. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, and siblings George and Billy Olson and Virginia McGraw. Funeral services Monday, January 27, 11 a.m. with visitation starting at 9 a.m., all at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 218 W. 2nd St., Chaska. Private family burial at a later date. Those who wish to honor Richard's life with a contribution might consider the Friends of the Boundary Waters,, or a charity of their choice dedicated to preserving the environment, fighting poverty, or promoting human welfare. Bertas Funeral Home, Chaska (952) 448-2137