Brian Elwin “Big B” Olson, 79, of New Lisbon, passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 7, 2019.
Brian was born in Madison, the middle of three children, on July 9, 1939, to Otto D. Olson and Iva Violet (Mead) Olson.
A graduate of Wauwatosa High School, he played trombone in the marching band, and was active on the Tosa 57 Reunion Committee. After an apprenticeship in Industrial Blacksmithing at Allis Chalmers, he worked in the forge shop until 1967. He then worked at Unit Drop Forge as the Chief Inspector, until his retirement at age 62.
He married Karen “Kari” Olson Oct. 24, 1964. They had two sons Eric and Kristian. They adopted Anders, “Andy,” who became the middle son. Brian took an active role in his son’s lives, becoming a Webelo leader, and an umpire and coach for the boy’s sports activities. Brian was active himself, playing recreational baseball, soccer, basketball and football, from his 30s into his 50s. He competed in a number of runs including “Al’s Run” and “Stepping for Hunger.” He and Kari enjoyed dancing and was fondly referred to as “The Dancing Man” or “Mystery Man.”
“Big B” loved his friends and family and found many occasions to have parties. From his 40th birthday pig roast to the 50th birthday in Hart Park and two reunions at the family farm, family was always prominent in the festivities.
In 1972, he and his brother purchased their grandparent’s Century farm in New Lisbon. He remodeled the old farm house largely on his own, and Kari and Brian retired there in 2005.
In 2006 Brian joined Lyn & Gina’s gym. He regularly worked out, there, and later at Silver Star Health. The gym became an important part of his life and desire to stay fit. In 2017, he completed the “Iron Man” program at Silver Star and in April 2018, was chosen “Mr. April” because of the inspiration and encouragement he gave to his fellow gym members at Silver Star.
Brian loved cats; strays always found a home on the Olson farm. Although he was more of a “cat” man, he also enjoyed his wife’s Norwegian Elkhounds. He restored a Farmall H tractor and was proud of his restored El Camino.
He was always quick to help anyone in need. He joined the New Lisbon Lions and was one of the first to volunteer for a job. He sold kringles, calendar raffles, Christmas trees, managed candy sales, installed ramps for the disabled, and delivered for the Eye bank. He took fundraising very seriously. He won awards for the largest amount of donations for a group (the Lions) for the Alzheimer’s organization two years in a row. With all that Brian did, he still found time to volunteer at the New Lisbon Food Pantry too.
He was a real hero, arriving at the scene of three accidents where he rescued the drivers. During a snowstorm, Brian ran down into the ditch under live wires to save a woman shivering on the hood of her car with no shoes or boots on.
As a member of the New Lisbon Sportsman Club, he participated in the release of pheasants. Hunting was an important family tradition on the Olson farm. Family and friends came to hunt, but he enjoyed the camaraderie much more than actual hunting.
Brian is survived by wife, Kari; sons, Eric Olson of Wauwatosa, and Andy Olson of Mauston; granddaughter, Alissa Sue Atherton; brother, Mart (Joyce) Olson; nephew, Casey Olson; and niece, Amanda (Charley) Schmidt; various cousins, aunts, uncles and in- laws.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Janet Alice Olson; and son, Kristian Karl Olson.
Brian will be missed by many who enjoyed his enthusiasm for life and sense of humor, not to mention, by Norwegian Elkhound “Briskke,” and his cats.
A Memorial Service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 at the Hare Funeral Home, 217 W. Pearl St., New Lisbon. Relatives and friends are invited for visitation from 1 p.m. until the time of service Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Hare Funeral Home. Reverend Wendy Ruetten presiding.
Donations may be made, in lieu of flowers to the New Lisbon Lions. The Hare Funeral Home in New Lisbon is assisting the family with services. Online guestbook available at harefuneralhome.com.