Margaret Christianson

Margaret Christianson
Margaret Christianson

Margaret Ann Olson was born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, on February 10, 1949. She died at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, surrounded by her family, after a brief battle with cancer.

Meg was the daughter of the late P. Stanley and Margaret (Barnes) Olson of Cameron, Wis. She is survived by her husband, Peter; their children Andrew (wife Heidi), Nicholas (fiancée Jessica) and Amy; as well as her brothers, Peter (wife Anney), and their children Neil (wife Joanna), Kyrsten, and Kjell; David (wife Cathy) Olson; and her grandchildren Madeleine and Miles Christianson. She is also survived by Pete’s sister, Linda, her husband, Jeffrey Strother, and their daughter Cecilia.

Meg and Pete married in Cameron on April 10, 1976. They shared a love which was immediately apparent to all who met them. The last words in any conversation between them before parting were always “I love you”.

Meg graduated as Valedictorian of Cameron High School in 1967. She moved to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin before transferring to UW-Stout, from which she received a BS in Dietetics in 1973. She worked as a Research Dietitian at Oscar Mayer in Madison before becoming the Clinical Dietitian at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls. Meg received an MS in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Minnesota in 1977 before moving to Milwaukee, where she became the Chief Clinical Dietitian at St. Michael Hospital. She later became the Chief Public Health Nutritionist for the City of Milwaukee Health Department.

After the birth of Andy, she moved to Milwaukee Public Schools, where she developed and implemented the district’s first school breakfast program. As her children began to move through elementary school, Meg returned to school and received her degree in nursing from the Waukesha County Technical College in 1994. She spent 12 years working for Humana Insurance, first as a case manager, and then for more than 10 years as a supervisor of case managers across Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. This was her favorite job, as she got to meet a large group of dedicated nurses and other health professionals from across the country who became very dear friends. Meg was a lifelong learner and a voracious reader. She took great pride in the accomplishments of her children, to whom she was a constant source of love and encouragement. She warmly welcomed into her home the friends of her children, treating each visitor like a member of the family.

Her special warmth remains with many of them to this day. Because of the early death of her parents and Pete’s parents, the family motto became “If anyone goes, everyone goes!” Vacations became marathon adventures, traipsing across the country, from Disney World in the early years to Southern California in the later years, and with numerous trips across Northern and Southern Europe plus Ireland and Great Britain. In recent years such adventures included travel to Norway and Italy with her brothers and cousins as well as visits with Marcelle Schoysman and her husband Christian. Marcelle was a Belgian exchange student who lived with the Olson family in the 1970’s.

There was nothing more important to Meg than her family. No weekend was complete without a visit with her beloved Maddie and Miles. She delighted in every visit with her brothers and with her sisters-in-law, as well as her Barnes and Olson cousins. Every encounter with any family member brought her great joy. Meg made deep and lasting friendships quickly and at every stage of her life. She particularly excelled at supervising people, a skill she first developed as a young dietitian supervising the food service program in elementary, middle, and high schools at Milwaukee Public Schools. Working as a case manager supervisor for Humana, she took great pride in the many nurses who were promoted from her team to leadership positions. Although retired from Humana for more than a year, she remained in close contact with many of her former co-workers. To her husband and children, Meg was a best friend and advocate, a patient listener, and an eternal optimist. She will be greatly missed.

A Memorial Service for Meg will be held at the WISCONSIN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S ALUMNI LOUNGE at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, on the University of Wisconsin campus, at 2:00 PM on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. The family will greet friends from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service and immediately thereafter. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Meg’s name may be made to the UW Foundation for the benefit of the Alumni Park 150th Anniversary Fund, Account #12906698. Go to www.supportuw.org for more information.