Bernice Evelyn Olson, 86, of rural Blair, passed away peacefully to her heavenly home on Tuesday June 22, 2021 at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. She was born August 19, 1934 on her family’s farm in Hegg (rural Ettrick) to Orrin and Tena (Anderson) Bue.
From kindergarten through eighth grade, Bernice attended school in a two-room schoolhouse in Hegg, then transferred to Blair High School where she graduated in 1952. Throughout those years, Bernice enjoyed riding horses, sewing and playing saxophone and piano. She was an active member of her local 4-H group, winning the county’s National 4-H Home Improvement Contest in 1951.
After high school, Bernice worked as a secretary at Reinhart Foods in La Crosse and in the agriculture office at the Trempealeau County Courthouse. She married Ronald Olson on August 28, 1954 at North Beaver Creek Lutheran Church in rural Ettrick and eventually settled on a farm on the outskirts of Blair where she lived until her passing. Bernice was a homemaker for her growing family and along with her husband, founded the Countryside Lefse Company in Blair in 1966. She and Ronald operated and grew the business for 30 years before selling it their son, Marshall, and his wife, Amy.
Bernice enjoyed fishing, sewing, bowling, baking Norwegian cookies, traveling around the country with family and friends, wintering in Florida, spending summers at the cabin and learning about her Norwegian heritage. Regardless of what life threw her way, she never complained and would persevere. She would often say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” and her life reflected this. She had a strong faith in God and was proud to be the oldest lifetime member at NBC Faith. She will be remembered for her patience, selflessness, intelligence, innate ability to remember (literally) everything, her Ber-isms, frugality, sewing prowess, singing and playing piano, taking time to help her children with their homework, being a stickler for proper English speech and writing and instilling this in her children, and the ability to take apart any appliance (even a washing machine) and put it back together.
Bernice is survived by her eight children, Michael (Lynn) Olson of Neillsville, Veronica (Kent) Kuchenbecker of Winter Springs, FL, Marshall (Amy) Olson of Blair, Teresa Olson of Farmington, MN, Robyn (Greg) Wirth of Hokah, MN, Rochelle (Mark) Thompson of Holmen, Matthew (Jessica) Olson of Waukesha, and Rebecca Olson of Holmen; 25 grandchildren, Jason Olson, Kendra, Joseph, and Andrew Stevens, Jeremy and Joshua Kuchenbecker, Charissa Bates, Tina Rudi, Melissa Olson, Mackenzie Prudlick, Stephen Schmich, Patrick and Nicholas Wiseman, Coltan, Kalli, and Brittany Wirth, Kendra Walter, Jacob Thompson, Jordan Moorhead, Tyler and Ethan Czech, Marshall and Maddox Olson, and Cody and Renni Johnson; 19 great-grandchildren, Jazlyn Olson, Maranda Swanson, Hailey Stevens, Timothy and Cody Stevens, Alexis Schmich, Violet and Alice Walter, Emmett and Roddy Thompson, Eli, Silas, and Anya Bates, Abby and Chase Rudi, Sawyer, Dawson, Ellie, and Everett Prudlick and one great-grandchild, Loretta. She is also survived by brothers-in-law Wendell (Jan) Olson, Calvin (LaVonne) Olson, and Lance (Sally) Olson and sisters-in-law Phyllis (Olson) Duxbury and Carol Bue.
She was preceded in death by her husband Ronald, her parents Orrin and Tena, mother-in-law Bessie (Lindow) Thompson and father-in law Prie Olson, sister Eileen (Bue) Johnson, brother Vernon Bue, brothers-in-law LeRoy Johnson, James “Tubby” Dahl, and Larry Duxbury and sister-in-law Shirley Olson.
Memorial services for Bernice will be held at North Beaver Creek Faith Lutheran Church with burial in the church cemetery, both in rural Ettrick, on Monday, June 28, 2021 at 2:00 pm. Visitation will take place from noon until the time of service. Pastor Adam Arends will officiate.
The Jack Funeral Home in Blair is assisting the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be designated to North Beaver Creek Lutheran Church or the charity of one’s choice.
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