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Shirley Jean Olson December 23, 1927 - November 26, 2020

Shirley Jean Olson

Dec. 1929 – Nov. 2020_x000D_
Shirley Jean Olson passed away at her beloved farm in Livingston, CA on November 26, 2020. She was born on December 23rd, 1929 to Arthur and Marie Leider in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert E. Olson, whom she was married to for 66 love and adventure-filled years.

Mom leaves behind Rob (Peaches, recently deceased), Suzy (Dave), Marymargaret (Don), Mike (Susie), Katy (Jim), John (Irma), Janie (Nolan), Marshall (Tera), Patty (Mike) and Florie, 43 Grandchildren and 31 Great Grandchildren, who affectionately called her Grandma Bunhead.

We find it fitting that Mom joined Dad on Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was always about family and friends, everyone was welcomed, and many times there would be 75 people in the barn. Mom radiated kindness and joy and everyone who was near her soaked it up.   Mom had a generous soul, she was someone who brought people together and was the life of the party with her mischievous spirit.  She was committed to building a world of peace and justice starting in her own community but extending the world over. She was someone who inspired other people to greater love, friendship and generosity. She literally changed the world and many lives by starting where she was.

Mom spread love by being generous with her time, and always having an ear to lend. She had a big family yet somehow made everyone feel special. She paid attention to the details. She enjoyed playing bridge earlier in life and later, loved rummikub and dominoes and had a nightly game with Dad. She had many interests; reading, baking, gleaning, sewing, throwing parties, current events and was an adventuresome woman at heart.  Mom loved to camp, which bubbled over to all of us. She could never pass up a learning opportunity.

Mom actively served her community, serving on the Livingston Clinic Board, Arts Council, Juvenile Justice Commission, Youth Accountability Board, Merced/ Somoto Sister City Committee and Livingston Interfaith Committee.  She worked as an RN at Grace Nursing home, taught sewing class and later was a Hospice Nurse. Mom and Dad hosted many Lions Club International students, AFS students, Merced College students as well as befriending refugees. Mom was a long time parishioner of Saint Jude’s Parish. This is only a fraction of how she made the world a better place in her lifetime.

The family would like to thank her caregivers, especially Alejandra, Lorraine, Rubi, Covenant Care Hospice and Dr. Ron Arakelian.

A graveside service was held on December 4th.  We will celebrate her life with a large gathering in the future.

Mom’s outgoing, friendly, radiant personality, and huge smile melted the hearts of those she met. We miss her. She was the best Mom and we are all very lucky to have called her ours.


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  1. Dennis Cardoza says

    Mr. and Mrs. Olson were pillars of the St. Jude’s and Livingston High communities. I am thankful for their Christian example. Sincerest condolences to the Olson Family.

  2. Heidi says

    She was one of the best grandmas that anyone could’ve asked for. Always filled with love and mischief. I miss her dearly.

  3. Pat Cluff says

    I remember feeling included as a friend when her daughter Jane married my son Nolan. One of the better things that happen when a child marries; the parents get to expand their circle of friends.

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