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Ellsworth Olson, of Dawson, passed away Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at his home in Dawson at the age of 97.
Funeral services will be held Friday, August 18, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Grace Lutheran Church in Dawson. Pastor Kendall Stelter will officiate and burial will be in the church cemetery.
Visitation will be held Thursday, August 17, 2023 from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM at Hanson & Dahl Funeral Home in Dawson with a prayer service beginning at 6:30 PM. Visitation will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Friday.
In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to:
Grace Lutheran Church or Hope 2 Others International https://hope2othersinternational.org/.
Arrangements are with Hanson & Dahl Funeral Home in Dawson. www.andersontebeest.com
Ellsworth Leroy Olson was born in 1926 in Madison, Minnesota to Henry and Mabel Olson. Growing up in the Great Depression, Ellsworth moved with his parents to several farms in the Madison and Dawson area attending various country schools and public school in Madison. When he was 14 years old his father Henry decided to try farming again and borrowed money from Ellsworth’s Uncle Joe to buy a tractor and machinery. Shortly after his father fell ill Ellsworth chose to leave school after 8th grade to tend the farm while his father recovered. He was never able to go back to school but was an avid learner all his life. Ellsworth embraced new technologies and was gifted with the mechanical ability to build, restore, and repair a wide range of items. He built a generator and restored antique tractors and a Model A roadster. At his 90th birthday party Dawson schools presented him with a high school diploma which brought tears to his eyes and those in attendance.
Ellsworth met his wife of 67 years, Clarice, through his good friend, Roy, who was dating her sister Joan. They were married in 1955 at Israel Lutheran Church of rural Clarkfield. They rented the “Hanson” farm north of Dawson where they raised their two children for 16 years. In 1962 Ellsworth was able to purchase his first farm northwest of Dawson, building a new house that the family moved to in 1971. As he purchased more farmland Ellsworth decided to offer an opportunity for his Uncle Joe’s grandson, Bob, to join him in the farming operations in recognition of their joint love of the land and the chance he had been given by his uncle. In later years Bob’s son, Eric, started farming with them.
Ellsworth served as a board member for the Madison Elevator, Federal Land Bank, and Production Credit Association. He and Clarice were lifelong members of Grace Lutheran Church in Dawson where he was on the Church Council and sang in the choir. In his mid-sixties Ellsworth started golfing and bowling. He was in two Madison golf leagues until age 91 including the “Duffers” Golf League in Madison which was featured in a “Land of 10,000 Stories” segment on KARE 11 TV. In 2002 Ellsworth was selected for the Farm Journal Honor Roll of a remarkable generation of farmers in farming for over 60 years. After years of talking about building a new workshop on the farm Clarice told him, “You’re 78, it’s now or never!” It became his pride and joy for 12 years often working on a “project” over the winter months.
Ellsworth and Clarice enjoyed camping and traveling to many US destinations, Canada, and Norway. He was also delighted to accompany his pilot son on trips to Hong Kong and Norway. For three decades Ellsworth made an annual 700-mile fishing trip to Canada. He also enjoyed playing accordion, entertaining at area care centers and events with his friends Phil or Dawn on the piano.
In 2017 at age 90 Ellsworth decided it was time to leave the farm and built an accessible home in Dawson. They thoroughly enjoyed their new home, and the accessibility made it possible to be in their home despite new health challenges. After his wife died in 2022 Ellsworth stayed as active as he could attending Bible Study and meeting for coffee with several friends three times a week. He was the poster child for “use it or lose it”, riding his exercise bike and going for walks down Pine Street with his walker.
Ellsworth was a person of honesty and integrity and was a role model for his family and community in terms of being kind, generous, and compassionate. He always took the “high road” in dealing with others, even those he didn’t agree with.
Ellsworth was preceded in death by his parents, an older brother, Gordon, and his wife Clarice.
He is survived by his son, Mark (Lisa) Olson of Broomfield, CO; daughter, Cheryl (Larry) Bornhorst of Mounds View; sister-in-law Helen Werner; brother-in-law, Wayne Lehmann; grandsons, Brad (Cherie), Michael (Amelia), Daniel, Tom (Sarah), and four great-grandchildren as well as numerous family and friends.
Blessed be his memory.