Evan August Olson, 86, of Valley City, ND, formerly of Wheaton, Minnesota, passed away August 6, 2019 at Sheyenne Care Center under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.
Funeral service for Evan A. Olson will be held on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Wheaton, MN.
Evan was born in Wheaton, MN on September 26, 1932, the son of Mathias and Elsie Olson. At six months old he moved with his family, mother and father, sister Margaret and brother Oliver, to a farm near Star Prairie, Wisconsin. Evan was only two years old when his father passed away and he and his family moved into the village of Star Prairie, living there until 1940 then returned to Wheaton until 2016 when he and his wife Ronnie moved to Valley City, ND, to be closer to family.
Evan took a liking to sports at an early age. He played on the Wheaton High School baseball team that won third place honors in the Minnesota State High School baseball tournament in 1949 and was a member of Wheaton High School’s first District 21 championship basketball team in 1950. He continued to love all sports the remainder of his life, enjoying his time on the golf course for many of his later years.
He began working at the Wheaton Gazette in the summer of 1948 and was a member of the Gazette staff as a printer, photographer, advertising salesman, ad and job printing compositor until his retirement in 1997. In 1955, he also assumed the duties of Sports Editor for The Gazette, a position he continued to hold even after his retirement from full-time work. He served as the Sports Editor for nearly 52 years, finally giving it up in June of 2007. He spent two years serving in the United States Army at the end of the Korean Conflict, from 1953 to 1955, spending 18 months in the country of Japan.
Evan was married to Veronica Collins Goggin on November 4, 1969, and acquired three step-children, Maureen, Dennis, and Kathleen Goggin. Dennis passed away in 1977, but the two step-daughters provided him with seven grandchildren and 16 great – grandchildren.
He served as vice-chairman and head usher of the Bethlehem Covenant Church, was secretary-treasurer of the Wheaton Baseball Association and a past president of the Land O’ Ducks Baseball League and the Wheaton Quarterback Club. He was a member of the Wheaton American Legion Post 80 for over 50 years. In 1992 he was presented the “Minnesota Wrestling Sportswriter of the Year Award” by the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Coaches Association, and in 2005 he was named to the “Wheaton Older American Hall of Fame.”
He is survived by his loving wife: Ronnie of Valley City, ND; step-daughters: Maureen Birchem of Valley City, ND, and Kathleen (Mark) Thorstad of Thief River Falls, MN; seven grandchildren all girls: Stacy (Birchem) Ingstad, Nicole (Birchem) McDaniel, Natalie (Birchem) Potratz, and Michelle (Birchem) Damewood, Corey (Thorstad) Melby, Kelly (Thorstad) Lien, and Jessica (Thorstad) Sustad; and 16 great- grandchildren: Abby, Reagan, Jack, and Olivia Ingstad; Tate, Breck, and Kinlee Sufficool; Drew, Dacota, and Jaye Potratz; and Jossylyn and Hunter Damewood; and many nieces and nephews.
Evan was preceded in death by his parents, brother Oliver and sister Margaret McKee, step-son Dennis Goggin and step-son-in-law Ronald Birchem.
Leurd Mathias Funeral Home in Valley City, ND is assisting Evan’s family with arrangements.