Cover photo for Robert Olson Jr.'s Obituary
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1930 Robert 2022

Robert Olson Jr.

June 6, 1930 — December 22, 2022

Zumbrota

Robert Carl Olson Jr, 92, or Zumbrota, passed away on Thursday, December 22, 2022

Bob was born on June 6, 1930, to Robert Sr. & Gladys Olson in Belgrade, Minnesota. He was raised on the Olson farm in Waseca, Minnesota. He graduated from Waseca High School in 1948, the first member of his family to do so. He met Esther Lorraine Lechner, the great love of his life and mother of his children, in 1948 and married her on June 21, 1951. Esther died in 1984, and Bob never fully recovered from her loss. Bob was a great dreamer whose dreams did not always come true, but he was a survivor.

His greatest joys in life were the successes and achievements of his seven children, Linda (David) Keller of Eagan, MN., Curt (Hannelore) Olson of Broadus, Montana, Robert Kim (Kimberly) of New Richland, MN., Shawn (Jim) Anderson of Rochester, MN., Sheryl (Vernon) Vanasse of Spring Valley WI., Phil (Shari) Olson of Zumbrota, MN., and Lars (Angela) Olson of Mazeppa. He leaves 24 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren.  He is also survived by his sister, Charlotte, two brothers, Mike Olson and Bruce Olson, many nieces and nephews, and special friend Delilah. In addition to his wife Esther, Bob was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Donald and David Olson, granddaughter Stacey Olson, and his second wife Gwen Carlson.

Bob farmed his entire life, moving from farms in Waseca to Kasson to Lake City. He was a tireless advocate for the importance of agriculture to America. In order to support his farming passion, Bob also worked as a postmaster, construction worker, and fish cleaner on a cannery ship in Alaska. Born at the height of the depression, there was no work that he did not consider worthwhile.

Bob was committed to politics and very active in the DFL party. He was a county commissioner and ran for a state representative position. His final involvement was serving on a county agricultural committee in Hilary Clinton’s campaign. He read at least two newspapers every day until he was ninety. All who knew Bob recognized his talent for talking. He loved deer hunting, dancing and card playing. He and Esther added an extra step when they danced to the polka, and people loved to watch. They are finally together again.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the Spring of 2023.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Olson Jr., please visit our flower store.

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