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1926 Curtiss 2023

Curtiss D. Olson

September 3, 1926 — December 6, 2023

Ortonville, MN

Curtiss Olson, age 97, of Ortonville, formerly of Clinton, MN passed away on December 6, 2023.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. at the Clinton Memorial Building in Clinton, MN. Visitation will be held at the Mundwiler and Larson - Moberg Chapel on Friday, January 5 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue on Saturday, one hour prior to the service. Burial will be held at a later date in the Clinton Cemetery.

Curtiss Dodds Olson was a good man. 

He departed this life with the sure and certain knowledge that there was no person on earth who had reason to bear him ill will. Not many people can say that. 

Curt joined the Army when he was seventeen, at the tail end of World War II. In his enlistment papers, he listed one of his skills as driving a six-horse hitch, which was a palpable untruth, because the farm he grew up on never could have afforded six horses. He did begin his farming career with horses, but he ended it operating a Caterpillar Challenger with a computer and radar. 

When he returned from Europe, where, in addition to his duties, he attended the Nuremberg Trials and chaperoned an instrumental band made up of former SS troopers, he picked up his little sister from school and met the love of his life. He and Opal Griffith were married for over 70 years. He supported her dream of getting an education and becoming a teacher at a time when that was not common practice, even though it doomed him to a life of eating his own cooking at noon, and eating whatever she wasn’t too tired to cook for supper. 

He was a Mason and a Methodist. He took great pride in the Masonic Children’s Hospitals and other good works of his brother Masons and he lived by John Wesley’s admonition, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” As a church member, he was never the guy to lead the choir or a prayer service but was clearly the guy who cleaned the rain gutters, checked for dry rot around the door, and made sure the pledges rolled in for mission work. 

Curt retired from farming when he was eighty. When it came time to rent out his farmland, his sole priority was that the thickness of the renter's wallet was far less important than the depth of their character. He wanted good guys who treated the land with respect, their families with love, and their community with commitment. 

Since he was only eighty and had the spare time, he single-handedly restored a pioneer cemetery on the edge of our property, cutting down scrub trees, grubbing out roots, and resetting tombstones. In the winter months he labored in his wood shop, building collapsible wooden school desks that were shipped to Haiti, eventually equipping a school for over two hundred children where none existed before. 

Despite his relentless practicality, drive, and demanding standards, he retained the ability to walk on his hands in a joyful display after a much-needed rainstorm and also show his grandchildren how to ride a bike facing backward. During road trips he was inclined to belt out the Air Force Hymn and “I’m a Scandinavian hotshot, I’m a hotshot from Duluth.” On his first visit to France, he called Opal “cherie” and held her hand as they strolled the streets of Paris. 

His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born on four continents. He loved them beyond all measure, and you could often see his crooked, wry grin as he gazed upon his diverse herd. 

Curtiss Dodds Olson was born September 3,1926, to Oscar Olson and Beulah Dodds Olson. 

He died December 6, 2023, at Ava’s House in Sioux Falls, after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by his parents, beloved wife Opal, and sisters Marilynn Jensen (Sherman) and Glenda Minerman (Roger). He is survived by his brother, Laurel Olson (Margaret), three children: Alison Olson Maraillet (Denis), Myrlah Olson (Joe Samuelson), and Brent Olson (Robin), six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. 

Curt’s family is grateful for his friends and staff at Fairway View Neighborhoods, OAHS, the doctors and nurses at Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls and the wonderful, caring staff at Ava’s Hospice House. Special thanks to Maria Botker for her presence during his stroke as a familiar face, a hand to hold, and a voice to remind him just how much he was loved. 

Memorials may be directed to the Masonic Children’s Hospital or New Life Primary School, Mizac, Haiti. 

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 5, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Mundwiler & Larson - Moberg Chapel - Clinton

47 East Hill Street, Clinton, MN 56225

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Memorial Service

Saturday, January 6, 2024

2:00 - 2:45 pm (Central time)

Clinton Memorial Building

Main St, Clinton, MN 56225


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