Robert John Olsen

Robert John Olsen was born on May 16, 1935. Dad passed away peacefully with his beloved wife, Shirley, by his side on Oct. 18, 2021.

No services are planned at this time.

He was born in Butte, Mont., to Ole John and Olive Olsen. He joined his big sister Jeanne, and the family was completed with the arrival of Marilyn a year later. Soon after graduating from Butte Central High School, Dad married Beth Payne on Aug. 27, 1953. They were blessed with 12 children during their 27-year marriage.

If you ever talked with Dad, you no doubt got an earful about his kids and how proud he was of them.

Dad was an avid sports fan, devoted to the Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. When he and Shirley settled in Washington, he couldn’t help but cheer for the Mariners and Seahawks. 

But no team captured his heart as much as any team his children or grandchildren played for. He rarely missed a Shelby Coyote game, home or away, even if it meant he was a crowd of one at the preseason intrasquad basketball scrimmages. From Little League Baseball to women’s league softball and everything in between, Dad was always there to cheer, support and …advise. 

Eventually his loyalty shifted to any team from a college that his kids or grandkids attended. If something was important to any of us, it was important to him. As much as he loved a good ball game, Dad had an equally strong affinity for music. He loved a variety, but he was especially fond of symphony and marching band tunes. 

A favorite memory of the family is of Dad marching around the house, broom stick in hand with the first half dozen kids marching right behind while “76 Trombones” blasted from the stereo speakers. Christmas Eve found him directing the family “choir” through our Christmas carol sing along. His love of music was passed on to each of us and the grandkids in turn and it’s something we treasure.

Dad wore his heart on his sleeve. He was animated, hilarious and a gifted storyteller. He was easily moved to tears of joy, pride or sorrow; another trait that seems to have entrenched itself in each generation. 

Nothing was more important to Dad than his family and he was there for every concert, game, wedding and graduation that he could possibly attend. If any of us was going through our own health battle, Dad showed up and if he couldn’t be there, he was only a phone call away, staying updated and ready to listen and offer support. We will miss him so very much. 

Dad was preceded in death by his parents, sister Marilyn, his first wife Beth, son Jerry, son-in-law Mike LaSorte and granddaughter Sarah. 

He is survived by Shirley, his wife of 27 years, his sister Jeanne Garrison, his children: Cathy (Dave), Linda (Andy) Barbara (Mike, deceased), Bob (Lois), Nancy (Lyn), Steve (Shari), Dave (Juanita), Chris, Patti, Jeanne (Jeff), Nicki (Myles), daughter-in-law Julie, step-sons Kirt Norman (Jen) and Aaron Norman (Jessica), as well as 26 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.


“Say not in grief he is no more but in thankfulness that he was.”

Hebrew Proverb