Colleen Merrill Olson, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, from natural causes incident to age. Colleen was born on January 5, 1926, in Swan Lake, Idaho, daughter of Adelbert Duane and Ruby Graham Merrill. She was raised in Swan Lake, Idaho, where she attended elementary school. She graduated from Downey High School, Class of 1943, attended BYU for one year, and then returned home and worked as a teller at Downey State Bank.
Colleen married Ralph E. Olson, her eternal companion of nearly 69 years, on February 25, 1947, after he returned from serving in the Navy during World War II. Following their marriage, they raised their family in Virginia, Idaho where Ralph operated a dairy farm while Colleen raised, nurtured and loved their six children.
Colleen was a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she served diligently and devotedly in all of the women’s organizations, including serving as Relief Society President. She was a scholar and an avid reader, and enjoyed quilting and crocheting, sharing her meticulous handiwork with her children and grandchildren. She also loved music, played the piano, and sang for many years in the Madrigal Choir, a local choral group.
In 1964, Colleen returned to work at the Downey State Bank, learning and excelling in all phases of banking. She retired from there in 1988, after she and Ralph had moved to Downey, Idaho. Colleen was very instrumental in establishing mainstream schooling for Down’s Syndrome children in the local area because of her devotion to her daughter, Christine. She was a compassionate mother, grandmother, confidant, and friend to all. Hers was a legacy of constant service, kindness and charity.
Colleen is survived by her husband, Ralph E. Olson, three sons, Steven Ralph Olson (Beverly) of Woodburn, OR, Lee Merrill Olson (Peggy) of Perry, UT, and Robert Roy Olson of Pocatello, ID, as well as her beloved daughter, Adele Olson Mosher of Clearfield, UT. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Roy Gibbs Merrill; her sisters, Beverly Merrill Watts and Donene Merrill; a son, Eric Duane Olson and a daughter, Christine Olson. She had 14 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 5 at 12 noon in the Downey LDS Ward Chapel. Friends may visit with the family on Saturday morning at the church from 10:30-11:45 a.m. prior to the service. Burial will follow in Downey Cemetery.