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Obituaries » Ralph Olson

Ralph Olson

July 2, 1949 - November 10, 2023

Service Date: November 17, 2023

Funeral Home Memorial Services of Iowa

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Ralph Olson died on November 10, 2023, at the age of 74. He was born July 2, 1949, at Crawford County Memorial Hospital in Denison, Iowa, to parents Raymond and Georgia (Jones) Olson.

A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2023, at Memorial Services of Iowa (4208 N. Ankeny Blvd) with visitation from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. He will be laid to rest at Ankeny Memorial Gardens following the service.

He attended Dow City, Battle Creek, and Schleswig schools. Feeling bullied and having a poor rapport with teachers, in 1965, Ralph dropped out of school at the age of 16. At that age Ralph moved from home and worked for several farmers, gas stations, and construction companies. He worked for IBP kill plant and the Denison Hide plant. Each time being employed 3 to 6 months, he was let go for being underage. Still underage, Ralph applied at Midwest Industries in Ida Grove, Iowa, and was employed there from 1967-1969. In 1968, Ralph met and married the love of his life, Anna Lee Jenkins, from Washta, IA. To that union two sons were born: Ryan and Jeffrey.

In March 1969, Ralph began a 10-year career with IBP Inc. in Denison. In the ‘70s, Ralph volunteered and was elected to the IBP Credit Union Board. In 1979, he became employed as manager and elected president of the credit union. With the help of many members and the backing of Dick Knowles (local newspaper owner), the credit union was moved from IBP to uptown Denison. In the ‘80s, Ralph and Ann moved out of Denison where he was employed by several other financial institutions.

With a slowdown of the economy in the ‘80s, and a heavy debt load, Ralph liquidated his assets in 1986. The family moved in with Ralph’s folks in the Denison area. In 1986 and 1987, he started Olson Construction Company with his brother, Kenny, and was joined later by Bob Loftus. In 1988, Ralph became employed by APC Inc. in which he was employed for 25 years.

During that time, he held the following positions: Production Operator, Supervisor, Plant Superintendent, and Plant Manager of several plants. He was then transferred to the corporate office in Ankeny, Iowa, where he held the position of Project Manager. Ralph ended his career in 2013 as Director of Operations of North America.

Ralph was a member of the Denison Jaycees and served as president for several years. He was also a member of the Denison Toastmasters, Estherville Volunteer Fire Department, and Kiwanis. Ralph also served on the board of the Boone Chamber and volunteered for many other celebrations and events.

He was baptized at the Catholic church in Dow City, Iowa, and attended several other denominations. He was a believer in God and our savior Jesus Christ.

Ralph loved his morning paper, Iowa Public Television, the History Channel (when it was about history), and stories about successful people and companies. He loved his fishing trips, vacations with family and friends, wintering in Texas and Florida, and riding his Harley. Nothing brought him more joy than his grandchildren, whom he loved dearly.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Georgia Olson; infant son, Jeffrey Raymond; brothers, Bob Olson and Kenny Olson; and sister-in-law, Lisa Olson.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Ann; son, Ryan Olson; daughter-in-law, Andi; grandchildren, Rori, Tyler, and Rowan all of Ames; sister-in-law, Gail Olson of Omaha; brother-in-law, Joe (Rose) Jenkins of Sioux Falls, as well as other loving relatives and friends.

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