Luther Olsen, 90, of Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Funeral services for Luther Leslie Olsen, age 90, of Albert Lea, will be held on Thursday, June 1, at 11 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. The Rev. Todd Walsh will officiate. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services at the church. Military honors will be accorded by Freeborn County servicemen&8217;s organizations.

Luther died on Sunday, May 28, 2006, at his home.

Luther L. Olsen was born on May 19, 1916, in Stavanger, Ill., the son of Bert and Ellen (Nelson) Olsen. Luther moved to Iowa with his family as a small child and grew up in Badger, Iowa. He attended Luther College and received a teaching degree in Social Studies. Luther was united in marriage to Ida Maxine Lundgren in 1941. Luther pitched baseball at the major league level and traveled with several Triple-A Teams. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox and invited to spring training in 1942. He went to Europe shortly after to serve in WW II in the 95th Infantry under General Patton. Luther achieved the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the French Medal of Honor, and the Bronze Star for his actions in France. He returned and raised his family in Albert Lea while working as a teacher, coach, and eventually a guidance counselor at Southwest Junior High until his retirement in 1981. Luther is best remembered by all of his friends as a strong, witty, generous and kind-hearted man, who was extremely knowledgeable, and as an expert in sports, particularly baseball and pitching. His favorite activity was to spend time fishing at his lake home in Northern Minnesota with his long time special friend, Alice Petersen, friends and family, and his beloved little dog, MacTavish. He once stated that Alice bought him the dog for companionship until he passed away, &8220;but now it seems to be a race to the finish line.&8221; He let him win. Luther was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, the Elks Club and the American Legion.

Luther is survived by his children, son, Gerald R. Olsen, Waconia, Minn., and his special friend Mary Johnson, daughters, Teresa Fogerty, Waconia, Valerie and husband, Daniel Halverson, Bovey, Minn., and Andrea Mauer, Albert Lea. Grandchildren, Daniel Halverson Jr., Duluth, Kristin and husband Jeremy Johnson, Duluth, Marin and husband Brock Suska, Waconia, Erin and husband Jay Rech, Waconia, Max and wife Suzanne Mauer, Albert Lea, Jebediah Mauer, Albert Lea, great-grandsons, Vance Johnson and Paxton Rech. Special companion, Alice Petersen. Sisters, Naomi Merryman, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Lenora Fuentes, Florida, and a brother, Gerald Olsen, Rialto, Calif. His dog Mac, and many nieces, nephews, friends and relatives.

Luther was preceded in death by his parents, the Rev. Bert Arthur Olsen and Ellen Sophia Olsen. Wife, Ida Maxine Olsen, brothers, Kenneth L. Olsen and Eugene Olsen and sisters, Thelma Eager and Helen Wilke and son-in-law, Patrick Fogerty.

Luther will always be in our hearts and he made a difference in our lives. He lived a long and happy, full life and we are grateful for each moment we had with him.

Memorials are preferred to Crossroads Community Hospice.