June 25, 1933 – October 26, 2020
Born in Lincoln, NE
Resided in Thousand Oaks, CA
David Charles Olson
David Charles Olson, loving husband, father, brother, and son passed away peacefully with his wife by his side on Monday, October 26, 2020 in Thousand Oaks, California. Strong in stature and spirit to the end, the Lord called him home after a life well lived at the age of 87.
David was born on June 25th, 1933 in Lincoln, Nebraska to Carl Wilhem and Charlotte Angela Joyce Olson. He was the first of three children with brother Samuel (Sam) Olson and sister Carolyn (Carrie) Olson Lamphere. Known as Duff/Duffy to family and friends, Dave to co-workers, Gramps to his beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren, he inspired all that knew him with his loyalty, hard-work, ingenuity, and thoughtfulness.
Born into a third-generation construction family, who knew that this tall, Swedish, left-handed, basketball loving, engineer would meet his future wife, Agnes (Aggie) Anderson at Irving Jr. High School in 9th grade. He attended Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minnesota but returned to graduate from Lincoln High School his senior year. He received a four-year NROTC Navy scholarship and attended the University of Nebraska earning dual degrees in Architecture and Civil Engineering. In one momentous day on February 4th, 1956 he received his Navy stripes in the morning, graduated from UNL in the afternoon and married the love of his life that evening. Their commitment lasted 64 years strong.
While in the navy, the newly married couple stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. David served with the Sixth Fleet as a gunnery officer aboard the USS William R. Rush destroyer, which protected the Suez Canal and surrounding areas of the Mediterranean during the Suez crisis. After completing his military service, they returned to Lincoln where David joined Olson Construction. During a steel strike in Nebraska, David and his growing family moved to California to pursue other construction opportunities. Work was plentiful in California with notable projects being Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, Stanford University’s Law School building, the Brundage wing of the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, and the Bank of America building in San Diego. He was proud to build the Sheldon Art Gallery on the U of Nebraska campus as well. David became the President of Olson Construction and moved back to Lincoln. O.C.C. had operations in 26 states, was the 2nd largest builder of hospitals and one of the largest general engineering contractors in the United States. David traveled continuously between eight offices in the central and western U.S. While living in San Diego, David bought a defunct parcel of land in Windsor, California north of Santa Rosa. He planted grapes on the property to hopefully earn enough to pay the property tax. This decision began David’s next career as a grape grower. He enrolled in Santa Rosa Jr. college and with the help of other farmers, learned how to grow fine quality Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and Syrah grapes. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he was excited to try new grafting, trellising and growing techniques. Often, students from UC Davis would tour his vineyards and study his success. Modestly he would say, “This soil is so fertile, I could plant a pencil and it would grow an eraser”. David’s thoughtful decisions and lasting legacy continue to be a blessing to his family and communities wherever he served.
Being on the move was a constant theme in David and Aggie’s life. The locations of the birth of their three children are an indication of their movement: Charles John Olson (Chad) in Newport, RI, Christopher David Olson (Chip) in Lincoln, NE and Emily Elizabeth Olson Hill in Redwood City, CA. Duff and Aggie also lived in the beautiful communities of Menlo Park, Atherton, San Diego, Windsor, Healdsburg, Ojai and Thousand Oaks, keeping enduring friendships along the way. He was actively involved with Rotary, Delta Tau Delta fraternity, AGC, YPO, Boy Scouts, Menlo-Atherton High School, The Bishops School, Dry Creek Valley Association, Ojai Music Festival and the #1 fan at his family’s sporting events and activities. David had a deep and abiding faith in Christ, often serving as Sunday school teacher and Deacon at their local Lutheran or Presbyterian Churches. He loved to fish, follow Cornhusker football, listen to country music, and tell stories often bringing tears to his eyes. His energy never subsided even when fighting prostate cancer. One of his final sentences was “Let’s Go”.
David is survived by his wife, Agnes, his three children and spouses; Chad & Denise Olson, Chip & Kathy Olson, Emily & Spencer Hill, his eleven grandchildren and spouses with four great grandchildren; Lindsey & Benjamin Frehner, Andrew & Kelsey Olson with Sadie Ann, Carl Olson, Emma Olson, Camille & Adam Henningsen with Dawson Charles and Emelia Fey, Chloe Olson, Lauren & Rick Weipking with Avery Rose, Lindsay & Mark Karwowski, Preston Hill, Anderson Hill, and Spencer Hill III, all of whom David was “Mighty Proud”.
We are deeply grateful to all the nurses and staff at University Village in Thousand Oaks, Oak View Skilled Nursing and Assisted Home Hospice for their loving patience, care, and loving hearts during his final years. The family will celebrate David’s life at a later date with the help of Roper & Sons. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
Living a life always on the move, David will rest peacefully next to family at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery. He always said, “There is nothing in life more important than family” and we are grateful he will have an eternal home in Heaven.
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