Florence Olson, 19 January 19363 June 2019. Florence K. Olson, 83, died on June 3 after a long period of declining health due to Alzheimer's disease. She was at home in Chaska with her family.
Mass of Christian Burial was Monday, June 10, 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.
Flo, as she was known by her friends, acquaintances, and loved ones, was born in Gaylord, MN in 1936. Her father Bill was a highway engineer, and she, her father, and mother Georgia moved around the state frequently as Bill went from project to project. They eventually settled in Willmar, MN, during Flos high school years. There she met her future husband, Richard Olson.
After graduating, Flo studied education at the University of Minnesota. She moved to Southern California as a home economics teacher for several memorable years, making new friends, enjoying the adventurous culture and jazz clubs of the 1950s West Coast, and spending her summers in Hawaii. This was a life-changing experience that she would talk about for decades to come. Her heart still lay in Minnesota, however, where she returned to marry Richard and raise a family in Chaska. She was a generous, creative, and dedicated mother in ways that her children appreciate to this day. They grew up in a household rich with culture, art, and outdoor adventures, and they learned early on to appreciate good design and the importance of order.
Chaska itself, its people, and the landscape of Carver County were also abiding loves of hers. She adored the rolling hills, woods, and ravines of the area, and always marked spring as the first day that the neighboring herd of cows would gallop past her kitchen window, eager to run free after a winter in the barn. Flo was very active in the community, advocating for new programs in the schools, volunteering with the League of Women Voters, and working on environmental issues just as they were starting to come to public attention. Her specialty, she liked to say, was garbage. For Flo, that meant recycling. She was instrumental in setting up an early recycling center in Chaska, and she served in a more official capacity as a representative on the Metropolitan Council Solid Waste Advisory Committee. Flos political activities eventually took her to the Chaska Planning Commission and then to the City Council. She is remembered there for championing the environment in city planning, especially advocating for trees and greenspace in the city. Her strongest motivation and first love was always people, however. She relished nothing more than striking up a conversation with someone she might meet in the course of her daily errands, finding out who they were and what their world was like. She was fascinated by others, was a warm and loyal friend, and an inspiration to many who knew her.
Flo is survived by her husband, Richard; children, Kevin Olson (Ulrike Luderer), Shannon Olson (John Birge), and Mikaela Vanderperren (Mitch); grandchildren, Annika, Melena, and Ian Vanderperren, and a large extended family.
She was predeceased by her parents, M. William and Georgia Kempf and her brother, Fred Kempf.
Those who wish to honor Flos life with a contribution might consider the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org.
Arrangements by Bertas Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Chaska