Wayne E. Olson, 78 of Kearney passed away Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at his home surrounded by his family. Funeral services were at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at the Kearney First United Methodist Church with Rev. Alan Davis officiating. Interment will follow at Kearney Cemetery.
Wayne Eugene Olson was born May 2, 1941 in Minden, Nebraska to Oren and Leona (Stierly) Olson. He attended Kearney High School, graduating with the class of 1958. Wayne briefly attended Kearney State College. In 1959 Wayne moved to Denver, Colorado. He worked various jobs including unloading rail cars of bagged pinto beans by hand and paid by the carload. He later worked for the Martin Marietta Company on the eastern Colorado Missile Silo projects. In the winter of 1961-62 he had the opportunity to return to Kearney to take over the Conoco Service Station at the Corner of 25th and 1st as an independent owner operator for Continental Oil Company. In 1968 Wayne had the opportunity with Continental Oil to take over the Jobber ship delivering the bulk fuel and oil products to local municipalities, service stations, Industrial and manufacturers. In 1974 he was given the chance to purchase the jobber ship and own and operate as the owner and operator. This was the beginning of Olson Oil Company Inc. that Wayne operated for more than 30 years.
Wayne was very involved in the Kearney community. He was a longtime member of the Kearney B.P.O.E., Kearney Eagles Club and the State Firefighter Museum Board. Wayne served with the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department from 1963 to 1978, retiring as Captain. During his service Wayne fought the fire at the First United Methodist Church located at 22nd and Ave A. After the fire he was on the committee that purchased the site from the church for the new Fire Station 1. In 1998 he became active on the Reserve Company for the Fire Department and continued that service until his death. He also served as Civil Service Commissioner for 40 years. Serving both the Fire Department and the Kearney Police Department. In addition, he also served on the board of the American Red Cross, Platte Valley State Bank Circle C Board Member, State Brand Chairman for Conoco, National Board Conoco Advisory Council for Jobbers and the Paul Harris Fellow Rotary International. Wayne was awarded the 2014 Humanitarian Award. In his free time, Wayne enjoyed fishing, and restoring KVFD Fire equipment and collectibles.
In 2008 Wayne noticed a tremendous amount of food being thrown away from grocery stores that were nearing expiration dates. After speaking with many local food suppliers and with cooperation of the First United Methodist Church, the food pantry idea became reality. With help from the Management of East Lawn Mobile home estates, they were able to eventually purchase and renovate a mobile home into the Pantry. Food is brought in several days a week, and the pantry is open to all those in need. Providing food for as many as 200 families a week.
In his spare time Wayne loved to hunt and fish. He enjoyed going to the river to hunt for Morel mushrooms and willow that he would turn in to walking sticks and crosses for his loved ones. He enjoyed going to his grandkids sporting events and church with them each week. He never complained about being a taxi when needed. Wayne loved his family and friends with his whole heart.
Left to cherish his memory are his children, Christine Olson of Kearney, Gregory (Shannon) Olson of Ragan, NE, Troy Olson of Provo, UT, Tiffani (David) Olson of Kearney and Shane (Becky) Olson of Des Moines, IA. Grandchildren, Jarod, Bridger, Chamonix, Ethan ( Sara) JJ (Colby), Sarah (Tony), Hope (Reece), Grace, Macy, Dawson, Camdyn. Great grandchildren, Jarod, Ariana, Talyn, Taytem, Hudson, Kara, Logan and Ella Mae; and 3 great great grandchildren. Brother, Don Olson of Dubois, WY; as well as numerous extended family members and friends. Wayne was preceded in death by his parents.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Kearney First UMC Food Pantry or the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department. Condolences may be shared online at www.osrfh.com. Services are entrusted to O’Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral and Cremation Services.