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Obituary - Darwin Allen Olson



Darwin Allen Olson, 75  of Lake City, MN.  passed away unexpectedly on Nov 4, 2015. 

He was born September 3, 1940 to Christina and James Olson of Austin, MN. Darwin’s mother lost her battle with cancer when he was very young . His father worked hard to provide but ultimately signed authorization allowing young Darwin to join the Army at the age of 16. He completed basic training at Fort Carson Colorado and was later stationed in Korea. He shared his experience through letters, cards, and photographs with the love of his life and high school sweetheart Barbara Ann Walker. 

Darwin was honorably discharged in 1959 and immediately returned home to begin a life together with Barbara. They were married on October 23, 1959 and celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary just a few short days ago. 

Darwin began his working career as a sales representative for S.M. Supply Company in Rochester. In July of 1969 he made the decision to join C.O. Brown Insurance where he later became President and was instrumental in the development, growth, and success of the company through his last and final day with us.

He would lend his business and leadership skills to many other organizations over the years including: 

The Byron Jaycees where he was awarded “Man of the Year” in 1970 

The Byron Industrial Group 

The Byron Business Association 

The Byron School Board-multiple terms 

The Rochester Chamber of Commerce 

The Olmsted County Historical Society 

The Olmsted County Park Board and many other community service and non-profit organizations. 

When his children showed an interest in horses he developed a deep passion all his own. As was his nature, he took a very humble beginning in the Morgan Horse Show circuit and through hard work turned it into numerous Grand National & World Championship showings. In addition, he became the nominee for various leadership positions until ultimately serving as President of the American Morgan Horse Association. 

In a similar demonstration of his aversion to “playing small”, Darwin entered the horse racing business when Canterbury Downs brought the sport to Minnesota. In an entirely different sport and breed he achieved the pinnacle of success when the Olson’s horse “Itsallinthechase” ran in the Breeders Cup, qualified and ran for the roses in the 128th Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2002. 

Darwin is survived by his wife and one true love Barbara who’s steadfast  partnership made it possible to create and share these and many other noteworthy adventures with family and a host of wonderful friends. 

Their three children David Olson (Kelly) of Rochester, MN, Brad Olson, Byron, MN, and Darci Nice, Polson, Montana are eternally grateful for the gift of truly outstanding parents in every sense of the word. 

Barb and Darwin have also richly blessed the lives of their 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. 

Brad’s children: Julie (Sam) Nelson, Liberty Lake, WA (great grandchildren Cohen and Thea), Darwin James Olson, Stewartville, MN. 

Dave’s children: Madison Faupel, Minneapolis, MN., Paige Faupel, Rochester, MN., Blake Olson, Rochester, MN. 

Darci’s children: Marisa Binder, Missoula. MT., Kaelyn Binder, Missoula, MT., Brogan Nice, Polson MT., Ciri Nice, Polson, MT. 

Darwin is also survived by his sister Joyce of Austin, and extended family whom he valued dearly. 

A visitation will be held on Monday November 9, from 5-8 p.m. at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home (5421 Royal Place NW Rochester,MN. ) 

The memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday November 10th at Autumn Ridge Church (3611 Salem Rd SW) with a visitation one hour before the service. Any memorials are suggested to Season’s Hospice.

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