Hilda Viola Olson, 91, of Mahnomen, MN, passed away at the Mahnomen Health Center on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.
Hilda was born July 28, 1921 to Martin and Selma (Knutson) Olson in Veblen, SD. She grew up on the Olson homestead seven miles south of Geneseo, ND, with 12 older siblings and one younger brother. As second to the youngest, she always remained the beloved “baby sister” of this large family. She was baptized and confirmed at Bergen Lutheran Church, rural Geneseo. She attended Woodlake School in Marboe Township of Sargent County for eight years. She continued to live and work on the family farm and provided household help to neighbors during threshing times and cared for children.
In the mid-1950’s Hilda moved to Mahnomen where she was a waitress at Nelson’s Eat Shop and Bonn’s Café. Subsequently, she worked at the Mahnomen Hospital in the laundry department for more than twenty years before retiring in 1978. During her working years, much to the delight of all her nieces and nephews, Hilda spent her summer vacations and holidays visiting the homes of her brothers and sisters. Good times and laughter abounded with Hilda around.
Hilda lived in several places in Mahnomen before making the Valley View Commons her home. On the 25th anniversary of the Valley View Commons Hilda was celebrated as the only original resident still living there. In 2007 she moved to the Mahnomen Health Center, where Hilda had her sister, Myrtle (Olson) Nelson, living with her until 2011, when Myrtle died.
Throughout her years in Mahnomen Hilda was a member of the First Lutheran Church. She participated in women’s circle groups and sang in the choir for many years. Living at the Mahnomen Health Center she still looked forward each week to the church service. She also enjoyed visits from family and friends with a recent surprise visit from her sister, Thelma Jones, becoming an event that both sisters treasured. Hilda enjoyed visiting, and she also liked to play cards. Often she would talk her guests into playing whist, and even at the age of 91, Hilda was able to count cards with the best of them. Other pastimes included playing Bingo, doing word puzzles, watching reruns of the Lawrence Welk Show, and also, doing nothing at all. She had the remarkable ability to simply appreciate whatever she was experiencing at the moment. Hilda was content with life, and this underlying contentedness was displayed in her consistently calm, gentle, patient nature.
Throughout the years Aunt Hilda faithfully sent birthday cards to all her nieces and nephews, even the in-laws. In return, the 2011 Olson Family Reunion was held in honor of Aunt Hilda’s 90th birthday, and Hilda was made the recipient of cards and the love she had so generously bestowed on others throughout the years.
Hilda’s family members include her sister, Thelma Jones, of Rising City, NE; sister-in-law, Inga (Larson) Olson of Apple Valley, MN: sister-in-law, Irene (Larson) Olson of Springfield, MN; and a multitude of nieces and nephews. Hilda was preceded in death by her parents, seven brothers and five sisters.