September 9, 1929 – May 9, 2017
Born in Riga, Latvia
Resided in Lincoln, NE
Lucy Olson (nee Lucie Lawrentjew) was born September 9, 1929 in Riga, Latvia, which is located between Finland and Russia. She had fond memories of Riga and was able to go back several times in her lifetime. Riga is known for their Art Nouveau architecture, beautiful old churches, and city parks.
When World War II came, Lucy’s family decided to move to Germany. Her father had passed away when she was 5 years old. He worked for the Russian Tsar as a judge, so the family did not feel safe staying in the new USSR Regime. Lucy and her mother stayed with a close family friend for a large part of the war. Her brother was conscripted into the army as an interpreter. He was captured by the Russians and died in captivity. After the war, there was a severe lack of food and other necessities. Lucy and her mother decided to move to the United States. Her brother’s family, including her nieces Ari and Marina set sail for Australia. Somehow, the families got separated by ending up in different lines for refugees requesting to leave Germany.
Around 1946, Lucy and her mother were assigned jobs at Bethphage Mission, an insane asylum in Axtell, NE. They were sponsored by the nuns working there. The working conditions were horrific. They were required to work twelve hour days, including half days on Sunday. The people with epilepsy, Down Syndrome, and mental issues were all mixed together.
While working at Bethphage Mission, Lucy met Wendell Olson, her future husband. He was spending the summer in Axtell, helping a relative on the farm. He and some friends stopped by the mission to meet some of the girls working there. Wendell and Lucy moved to Lincoln, NE and got married around Christmas, 1950. Lucy’s mother died in 1953 of pancreatic cancer.
Wendell and Lucy had a daughter, Angela, who was born in Chicago, IL while Wendell was attending school, in 1954. Lucy, Wendell, and Angela later moved to Lincoln, where Wendell was raised and his parents lived.
Lucy was hired at the Lincoln Star newspaper as a service desk worker where she put together calendars and helped assemble pages. She enjoyed working with an unusual and witty group of people. She retired after nearly 30 years. Lucy spent her latter years at the Knolls Retirement Community where she was very well taken care of.
Lucy Olson was a sweet and loving person who made an impression on everyone she met. She had a very good sense of humor, enjoyed listening to classical music and German folk music, especially Heino. She will be missed.
Lucy is survived by her daughter, Angela Olson, nieces Ari Greenwood, Marina Morriss, and Chris Thiesfeld Carranza, nephews Steve Thiesfeld, Richard Thiesfeld, and John Thiesfeld.
She was preceded in death by father Alexander Lawrentjew, mother Lucie Lawrentjew (nee Burmeister), husband Wendell, and brother Boris Lawrentjew.
Funeral Service: Monday, May 13, 2019, 11:00 a.m., Roper & Sons O Street Chapel
Visitation: Sunday, May 12, 2019, 12 – 8 p.m.
Memorials may be directed to Capital Humane Society or Matt Talbot Kitchen
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