HAMILTON – Carole Anna (Pedersen) Olson, 75, of Hamilton, passed away into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula October 1, 2017, due to complications from Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She was surrounded by her beloved husband and three daughters. She was born September 11, 1942, in Mandan, North Dakota, to William M. and Dorothy D. (Yaple) Pedersen. Carole was raised in Mandan and graduated from Mandan High School in 1960. She was fond of her siblings and always described her mom as a “saint”. She attended Jamestown College from 1960 to 1962, worked as a lifeguard, and pledged her sorority, Theta Tau Sigma. She loved dancing, and spent many nights dancing in the Student Union to Ray Conniff and Percy Faith with friends and future husband, James W. Olson. Carole completed her two-year secretarial course of study and married Jim Dec. 29, 1963 at the First Presbyterian Church in Mandan. The couple moved to Havre, Montana, in 1963. Carole worked as a bank secretary for three loan officers and Jim taught biology and coached football and wrestling. It was humble beginnings. Carole moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1966 and worked as a secretary for 10 professors in the Biology Department while Jim attended dental school. A supportive wife and diligent worker, she received the “PHT” Award, Putting Your Hubby Through. In 1970, she moved to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where Jim served in the Navy as a dentist for the Marines. Dear friends were made in North Carolina, and she enjoyed living by the ocean in Vieques, Puerto Rico, for three months of Jim’s rotation of duty.
In September 1973, Carole moved to Hamilton, Montana and poured her heart into raising her daughters and creating a beautiful home. She taught water aerobics and swimming lessons at the Riverbend Athletic Club, was a longtime member of PEO, served on the library board, and helped found the Marcus Daly Hospital Gift Shop. She maintained lifelong friendships and helped start her Big Birthday Group. Summers were spent assisting as a stroke judge and timer for her daughters’ swim meets with the Bitterroot Swim Team, and falls/winters watching her girls play basketball and volleyball for the Hamilton Broncs. Carole attended church regularly, served as an Elder/Deacon, and enjoyed serving communion to the home bound. She contributed to the success of Jim’s dental practice and worked as his office manager/bookkeeper for many years.
Carole enjoyed many hobbies; she loved coloring, was an avid reader, devoted Griz Fan, attending many Griz Football games with Jim, and had a passion for March Madness. Time with family was spent hiking, backpacking, camping, floating the river, and skiing. Every three summers, she attended the Pedersen Family Reunion and made a point to stay in contact with her siblings and their respective families. Carole delighted in keeping a beautiful, immaculate home and hosting her daughters’ families.
She had a gift for decorating and working with colors. Christmas was her favorite, and her home radiated the joy and warmth of the season. After retirement, Carole treasured traveling and vacationing to their time share on Kauai with Jim and her daughters’ families. She loved sun bathing by the pool and sported a beautiful tan, much to her Dr.’s dismay. Everyone knew her infamous license plate ITANEZ!
Carole’s greatest joy and priority was her family. She adored her grandchildren, attended many of their functions, spent precious time and proudly displayed their pictures throughout her home and shared them with friends. She was ever so stylish, and her grandchildren loved their hip grandma. Family and friends knew her as kind and friendly, with a loving, generous spirit. She was quick to buy gifts or slip money to her daughters and grandchildren. Carole had an amazing quiet inner strength, was so brave, and kept a positive outlook. She was practical and had a witty sense of humor, with a bit of sarcasm. She had a strong faith and kept her faith even when things were difficult. Carole will be deeply missed by many; Heaven has gained and Angel!
Carole is preceded in death by her parents William and Dorothy Pedersen and brothers Jack and Robert Pedersen. She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Dr. Jim Olson; daughters, Laura (Gerald) Harmon, Kathy (Brian) Kalab, and Jaci (Troy) Decker; ten grandchildren, Sierra, Zachary, and Bailey Harmon, Amanda, Aaron, and Matthew Kalab, Andrew (Kayla), Emma, Grant, and Amelia Decker; and her sister, Dorothy Glaser.
A Celebration of Life will be held in loving memory of Carole at the First Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Dec. 28, 2017, at 11 a.m., with reception to follow.
Memorials are welcome to the Carole Olson Memorial Fund through the First Presbyterian Church in Hamilton at 1220 West Main Street Hamilton, MT 59840, or the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Memory of Carole Olson at PO Box 19023 Seattle, WA 98109 or seattlecca.org/donate.