Cover photo for Shirley Olson's Obituary
Shirley Olson Profile Photo
1935 Shirley 2018

Shirley Olson

July 14, 1935 — April 30, 2018

Elbow Lake

Shirley R. Olson, age 82, of Elbow Lake, died Monday, April 30, 2018 at Pioneer Cottages in Fergus Falls, MN.

Shirley Rose Ulsby was born July 14, 1935 in Bertha, MN to Alfred J. and Ella (Elnes) Ulsby.  She was raised in rural Parkers Prairie.  She graduated from Parkers Prairie High School in 1955.  Following graduation she worked as a nurse’s aide at the Bethany Nursing Home in Alexandria.

She met Lester R. Olson at a dance in Glenwood.  They were married October 27, 1957 at First Lutheran Church in Parkers Prairie and she moved to his family farm near Ashby.  There she raised their children and was a typical farm wife.  When her children were older she went to work as a nurse’s aide at the Pelican Lake Nursing Home in Ashby for about 10 years before retiring.

Shirley enjoyed baking, gardening (both flower and vegetable), needlework and traveling.  She was a member of Erdahl Lutheran Church from the time of her marriage until it closed in 2005.  She was active in Ladies Aid and as a Sunday School teacher.  She then joined United Lutheran Church where she was active in Dorcas as long as her health allowed.

Shirley continued to reside on the family farm she loved following Lester’s death in 2009 until October 2017 when she became a resident of the Pioneer Cottages (Homestead) in Fergus Falls.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Lester, an infant son Christopher Alfred, infant granddaughter Sarah Benson, infant great-grandson Connor Buehring, sister Nola Rustad, brother-in-law Russell Rustad and sister-in-law Debra Ulsby.

She is survived by her children Orvin (Evie) Olson of Conroe, TX, Patty (Steve) Benson, Elbow Lake, John (Lori) Olson, Elbow Lake and Rosie (Richard) Cartwright, Springfield, MO.  Grandchildren Amy Benson, Ashley (Blake) Buehring, Shane (Kristel) Olson, Sierra (Sean) Holloway, and Christopher (Jessica) Davis.  Great-grandchildren Charlie and Colby Buehring, Hannah and Holly Olson and Theodore Davis.  Also, several step grand- and great-grandchildren, and brothers Andrew (Jeanette) Ulsby and Joseph (Sue) Ulsby and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Service: 2:00 PM, Thursday, May 3, 2018 at United Lutheran Church, Elbow Lake, MN.

Visitation: 5:00 – 7:00PM Wednesday at Erickson-Smith Funeral Home, Elbow Lake. Visitation will resume one hour prior to the service at the church.

Clergy: Reverend Jean Ohman

Interment: Erdahl Lutheran Cemetery, Erdahl, MN

Online condolences:

Erickson-Smith Funeral Home of Elbow Lake is assisting the family with arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Olson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Erickson-Smith Funeral Home - Elbow Lake

116 1st St NE, Elbow Lake, MN 56531

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 11

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree