Ramona Ruth (French) Olson passed into the presence of her Heavenly Father on Oct. 11, 2023. She was 68.
Ramona (“Mona” or “Monie” to her family and longtime friends) was born July 13, 1955, at Sisters of the Presentation of Mary hospital in Rolla, North Dakota. Her parents, Flavel and Evelyn French, brought her home to join four older siblings: George, Patricia, Charles, and Rebecca. After her came four more siblings: Elisabeth, Leda, Berte Jean, and Evangeline, all born in the Rolla hospital.
Ramona attended St. John Public School 1961-1966. In September of ’66, when Mona was 11, the family moved to Evansville, Minnesota, where she attended Evansville Public School, graduating in 1973. But the Turtle Mountains remained her heart-home, and she observed, in later years, that when the family moved to Minnesota, she left her childhood behind.
In high school, Ramona excelled in her studies (including higher math classes, despite pressure from those who thought girls shouldn’t take calculus), played the alto saxophone in band and ensembles, sang in choir and small groups, and was active with the Calvary Covenant Church. She had a natural touch for piano, despite never having taken lessons. Her mom taught her the basics, her dad brought home piano student books, and Mona took it from there.
During her high school years, she also met James Mohrmann, whose family had moved to town after he was out of high school. They were married Dec. 15, 1973, and had four children: Michael, Jason, Janel, and Tessa. Mona and Jim lived in several places over the next few years, but about the time Ramona completed her training as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) they moved back to Evansville.
Ramona worked as a nurse at the Knute Nelson Home in Alexandria, Crestview Manor in Evansville, and ELEAH Medical Center in Elbow Lake. She later continued her joy of helping people by driving for People’s Express, a sort of medical appointment taxi. An injury on the job eventually led to back troubles that became so severe she was no longer able to work.
Ramona married Dean Olson of Erdahl, Minnesota, on October 19, 1996, and became stepmom to Nikki (Nicole) and Jeremy. From that time on, if asked how many children she had her answer was “six.”
Before the injury that eventually left her disabled, she traveled with Dean in the semi, motorcycle, and the motorhome. Their travels often took them to places west and north, including Sturgis, South Dakota, and St. John, North Dakota. They also spent a lot of time at Hayden Lake in Wisconsin on family land. In the Turtle Mountains, Ramona reconnected with friends from her youth, especially Betty (Davis) Hanson (1955-2023).
Dean and Ramona also did a lot of fishing. Expert at catching fish, Mona was even better at frying them up.
Ramona’s disability caused many challenges in daily living. With support and encouragement from Dean she was able to live at home, continuing with her activities as long as she could. Daughter of a good cook and sister to other good cooks, Mona’s pie crusts and homemade bread were considered the best in the family. She enjoyed gardening and had a green thumb—she could get anything to grow, and her luxurious house plants were also admired by her family and friends.
Ramona was preceded in death by her parents, Flavel and Evelyn French, and sisters Berte Jean (1962) and Leda Grace (1958-1980).
She is survived by her husband, Dean; son Michael (Tara) and children Lindsay, Allison, Arianna; son Jason (Kari), Lane, Jordan, Lily; daughter Nellie (John), Aaron (RaeLynn), Marissa (Cory), Richelle, Zeke, Ollie; daughter Tessa (Grant), Becca, Zach, Ryan, Wyatt, Sawyer, Barrett, Hadley; stepdaughter Nikki (Heath), Kaylee; stepson Jeremy (Sylvia), Jessie, Parker; and four great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, October 21, 2023, at the Grace Evangelical Free Church, Elbow Lake.
Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM until the time of the service.
Arrangements with Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, Elbow Lake.