Jerry Ray Olson, 81, of Kathryn, ND, slipped quietly into Heaven on Monday, February 15, 2021, after a long illness that eventually deprived him of speech and motor skills. Jerry was born in Preston Township, on December 30, 1939, to Raymond and Estelle (Emerson) Olson. He was educated in the Fort Ransom area and graduated from Fort Ransom High School in 1958. He married Cynthia Bjone, his high school sweetheart, on June 18, 1960.
He worked road construction on the crew that built I-94 through Montana and North Dakota as well as the construction of the Minuteman Missile sites for Boeing in the 1950’s, working in Montana and South Dakota, before returning to work in North Dakota at the Kathryn Elevator and to Fort Ransom to farm with his dad in 1966, eventually taking over the family farm and retiring in1997.
Jerry was a “salt of the earth” man, very private, quiet and gentle, strong and trustworthy. He adored his family, his five grandchildren, six great grandchildren and several step grandchildren. He loved the land he farmed and the livestock he cared for. His community would say he was the first to offer help in any situation, the neighbor they could always count on. He was never the first in line, always deferring to others before himself. He was an outdoorsman, hunted for game and appreciated the beauty of the hills and mountains he trekked.
His younger eyes never missed the slightest movement of a deer in the underbrush or a fox slinking through the trees. A heart like his of course fed wild game in the winter, assuring they would not suffer from hunger. He had many skills, artistic in many ways, from detailed drawing as a young boy, to “fixing things”, building intricate bird houses and beautiful chandeliers and lamps from antlers he found in the woods. His keen eye for things that others would miss allowed him to amass an impressive collection of Native American artifacts over the years. Jerry also loved woodworking and crafting items out of antlers.
He loved his children and grandchildren and his sister, Jean. They enjoyed his unembellished stories and knew he meant business when she snuck off with his new fishing pole, against his instructions, especially when she managed to cast it across the river, where it got caught in a bush.
Jerry married his high school sweetheart, the love of his life for over 60 years. He and Cynthia raised four children, giving them a farm life heritage of hard work and the truly important things of life. Lori, Lynn, Craig and Kim have been the pride of their parents.
His positive attitude, deep belly laugh, and his iron grip hugs will be missed. He was a rock to so many people. His faith grew as the years went by and Jesus was very real to him. Streets of gold would not impress him but God provides what is dearest to each soul, the hills and forests of Heaven must be a sight to behold.
Jerry is survived by his wife Cynthia, his children, Lori (Neil) Carpenter, Lynn (Randy) Larson, Craig (Bea) Olson and Kim (Greg) Myers, 9 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, his sister Jean (Bill) Pyne of Vancouver, Washington and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Buddy Olson.
A private family service will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at Preston Lutheran Cemetery, rural Fort Ransom. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Preston Cemetery c/o Cynthia Olson, 5768 Valley Rd, Kathryn ND 58049
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