STOUGHTON-Gerald Harvey "Jerry" Olsen, age 73, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, surrounded by his loving family at his home.
Gerald was born on August 16, 1940 to Semon "Sam" and Ruby Olsen, in Madison, Wis. He was the older brother to Gail Olsen Ring. Gerald graduated from Stoughton High School, where he excelled in basketball.
On Oct. 3, 1962 Gerald enlisted in the Air National Guard. He proudly served his country as a Staff Sergeant, specializing in vehicle maintenance operation and dispatching. He served until May 25, 1970.
Jerry graduated from Madison Business College with a BA in accounting. He worked in the Dane County Controllers Office in Madison for 25 years. With so much pride in his hometown of Stoughton, he held the position of 3rd Ward Alderperson for 16 years.
On April 20, 1963, he married the love of his life, Karen Lilian Chase. They built a house in 1966 in Stoughton. Their promise to each other was to make it to their 50th Anniversary and that they did. They had the best and the worst times but their unwavering love endured always.
Jerry and Karen were blessed with sons Scott, Kevin, and Brian. Eventually they rounded out their family with the addition of daughters Kristen, Margit, Michelle, and Andrea. Many pets came and went throughout the years, each a blessing to a big happy family. Times were not always easy, but we all had one another.
Jerry loved his role of Grandpa "Papa" to Sarin Race, Ahnika, Sawyer, and Jackson Frisch, and Aiden and Anders Olsen Arnett. He adored and celebrated each of his grandchildren in a special and unique way. He was a terrific father, but an amazing grandfather!
No braver fight was ever fought then when he survived his first battle with cancer, against all odds. This earned him the title of Dr. Hegeman's "miracle child". Four years later Dr. Hegeman was as saddened as we that it had returned. Those four years were such a gift. Jerry's fierce determination and dedication to all he loved fueled him for yet another round. His brave and admirable attempt was met with a more aggressive disease that showed no mercy. Through no fault of his own, his body could tolerate no more and the Lord welcomed him home. Those of us lucky enough to know him, suffer the loss of a truly great man. A husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, and a loyal friend like no other. He was our hero and inspiration. If love were a cure for cancer, it would have been eradicated.
Jerry loved his Packers and Badgers. He had a deep appreciation for all animals. His meticulously kept yard was envied by many. He was so intensely proud of his Norwegian heritage. The knowledge and experience he had with his many classic cars was nothing short of astonishing. We relish the memories of traveling with Dad on vacations and cruises to various destinations.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Karen Olsen; son, Brian Olsen; daughters, Margit (Patrick) Frisch, Michelle (Scott) Race, and Andrea (AJ) Arnett; grandchildren, Sarin Race, Ahinka, Sawyer, and Jackson Frisch, and Aiden and Anders Olsen Arnett; sister, Gail (Gene) Ring; sister- in- law, Teri Melson; cousins, Pastor Roger (Sharon) Olsen and Kenneth Olsen; special friends, Dave and Shari Adrian, Elvin "Sonny" (Linda) Swangstu and many other dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Semon "Sam" and Ruby Olsen; mother and father- in- law, Charles and Catherine "Kitty" Chase; and children, Scott, Kristen, and Kevin Olsen.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. ANN CATHOLIC CHURCH, 323 N. Van Buren St., Stoughton, at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, with Mnsgr. Gerard Healy presiding. A luncheon will follow the service. Burial will be at St. Ann Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON STOUGHTON FUNERAL HOME, 1358 Hwy. 51, Stoughton, from 4 pm. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, and also at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass on Thursday.
A special heartfelt thank you to the team from Janesville Agrace. Only with all of you were we able to respect and honor his wishes. Erin, Amy, Angie, Barb, Julie, Jeri and Angie were our Angels there to guide and comfort us all. We are so blessed and grateful for all you have done for our family. Your kindness and compassion will never be forgotten. He loved all of you and you earned your wings.
Words cannot describe our appreciation of Monsignor Healy. He was such a blessing during our journey and gave Dad such peace and comfort. Monsignor was a constant fixture, always sustaining our family through the good and the bad.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com
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