Thief River Falls - Joyce Olson, 88, Thief River Falls, died suddenly on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, N.D., with her loving family at her side.
Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate the life of Joyce Olson will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 26 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thief River Falls, with Father Rick Lambert presiding. Casket bearers include Alvin Borman, Allen Borman, Terry Jensen, David Sjulestad, Mike Noel and Mark Panek. Honorary casket bearers include Joyce’s granddaughters, MaryJo Oesterreicher, Ashley Kazmierczak, Amanda Olson, Tami Dowers, Lisa Dowers and great-granddaughter, Chrissy Kazmierczak. Interment will follow at St. Bernard’s Cemetery in Thief River Falls.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., with a 7 p.m. prayer service on Wednesday, June 25 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls. Visitation will also be held for one hour prior to the funeral on Thursday at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church.
When Ashley’s grandma went to sleep for the last time, Ashley had to let go of her hand and give Grandma’s hand to her deceased mother, Patty, to take Grandma along the path of souls to heaven.
Joyce was born on Thursday, Jan. 21, 1926 in Homen, N.D., in Cavaliar County. Like many others, she was born at home. The midwife that assisted in the birth was Myrtle Coil.
Joyce was the daughter of Nels and Elizabeth (DeCraene) Johnsrud. She was one of four children. Being born into a Norwegian family, she could speak fluent Norwegian and she loved to attend lutefisk suppers.
As a young child, Joyce lived in Wales, N.D., where her father was employed at Hugh Montgomery’s farm.
Later, they moved to Hallock, where Joyce attended grade school. She also attended school in Lake Bronson. Later, they moved to Kimberly, where she attended school. In 1941, she graduated the eighth grade from Longfellow School in the rural Aitkin area. For her ninth grade year, she attended school in Duluth at Morgan Park.
Education was very important to Joyce. While her family was living in East Lake, Joyce returned to Aitkin and stayed at Randal Price’s and Joe Ryan’s, where she worked for her room and board so that she was able to graduate from Aitkin in 1945. Joyce’s aunt Maggie made her graduation dress out of feed sack material that had white, purple and yellow flowers. Her aunt treated her with a special supper that included dandelion greens. Her father gave her a watch for graduation. Her senior year, she was voted the shyest in the class.
After graduating high school, she took employment with her Aunt Minnie Overbye as a waitress. Her places of employment were Norm’s Cafe in Thief River Falls and Bucktown in Dorothy. She also worked for her aunt Minnie at the White Way Inn in Thief River Falls. Following her employment there, Joyce worked at Mercy Hospital in Thief River Falls.
She met her future husband, George Olson, in Thief River Falls and they were married Saturday morning, June 30, 1951 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thief River Falls, with Father Tim Noah presiding.
Joyce wore a white slippery satin gown, with a neck yoke trimmed in lace, with long pointed sleeves and a long train. She wore a crown of while lilies of the valley. Her flowers were the American beauty roses and white carnations.
Following the ceremony, they went to Hillie Dree’s diner, where Hillie hosted the breakfast. The diner was located on Main Avenue South in Thief River Falls. After breakfast, a reception was held in their honor at Melvin and Margaret Olson’s home. A baked ham was served and the wedding cake was made by Millie Olson. At that time, George was employed with Red Owl and Joyce was employed by Northwestern Hospital. In the early years of their marriage, playing canasta was a favorite pastime.
In 1952, George and Joyce were living in rural Park River, N.D., where their first child, Andrea, was born. They then returned to Thief River Falls, where their other two children, Mark and Adeline, were born.
The entire family returned to Fordville and Park River, N.D., in 1965, where Joyce donated her time waiting on tables and doing dishes at George’s Cafe and Steakhouse. In 1968, they returned to Thief River Falls, where Joyce played the role of homemaker and mother to her children, and then later the daycare mom to her grandchildren.
Having never learned to drive, you would see Joyce walking her children to every circus, dairy days and fair that came to town. When she took care of her grandchildren, she also walked them as well to those events.
Joyce loved to garden, both vegetable and flowers alike. She was an excellent cook and canner. When fall came around, you could always find her in the kitchen preparing for winter, putting up fruits and vegetables.
She enjoyed sewing, crocheting and embroidering. She loved to read, participating in the “Hot Reads for Cold Nights” hosted by the Northwest Regional Library. Joyce never missed the opportunity to compete in the Walk Pennington County program and completed it every year it was sponsored.
She enjoyed visiting family and friends along the way, with her chauffeur Adeline. Joyce and Adeline were able to visit numerous famous places out west, as well as the tri-state area. She treasured her time spent with her grandchildren.
Joyce was a member of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Thief River Falls.
Joyce is survived by her daughter Andrea (Dan) Dowers, Thief River Falls; son, Mark (special friend Tammee Bacon), Thief River Falls; daughter Adeline, Thief River Falls; grandchildren: MaryJo (Drew) Oesterreicher, Laveen, Ariz., Ashley (Keith) Kazmierczak, Thief River Falls, Amanda Olson (special friend Kyle Anderson), Thief River Falls, Tami Dowers, Fargo, N.D., and Lisa Dowers, Minneapolis; great-granddaughter Chrissy Kazmierczak, Thief River Falls; sister-in-laws, Margaret Olson, Wayne, Mich., and Mildred Olson, Cudahy, Wis.; and many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband George in 1997; brothers Earl and Danny Johnsrud; sister Susan Johnsrud and daughter-in-law Patty Olson; sister-in-laws Edna Sychowski, Gertrude Ramsey Walty, Mary Norbeck, Martha Scavo, Agnes Hinden, Margaret Elliot, Doris Bradley and Mabel Edwards; brothers-in-law, Bennie, John, Melvin, Norman and Pinkey; and numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews.