Obituary: Annette Olson
Annette Olson was an artist, teacher, humanitarian, traveler, friend, sister, wife, companion, reunion organizer, and mom. She passed away unexpectedly on June 13, 2020.
The first child of Connor and Ann Hansen, born in Eau Claire, Wis., she relished being big sister to Peter, David and Jane. The Hansen family enjoyed summers and family reunions at their cottages on Round Lake and in Lake Mills, Wis. Continuing in her parent’s tradition, Annette organized many family reunions over the decades. Her mother often noted that Annette had the whole day planned by the time she opened her eyes in the morning.
Annette married Ben Olson and they started their family in the mid-1960s, first welcoming son, Eric, then Mark, and daughter, Katy. Annette loved being a mom and caring for her family. A creative spirit, she was always trying new recipes, knitting, sewing, and mastering the art of Norwegian rosemaling. She shared her passion of art and culture by taking her children to museums and art shows.
Education and humanitarian efforts were important to Annette. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Carroll College in Wisconsin and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In the 1980s, she taught English as a Second Language to Hmong immigrants in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Annette’s fearless and adventurous spirit would eventually lead her to the White River Apache Reservation in Arizona, where she taught children with special education needs. Living and teaching on the reservation was perhaps one of the more challenging and rewarding chapters of her life, brightened by accomplishments and by Goshay, the stray dog she befriended and adopted.
Annette met Jack Stanton, her second partner in life, nearly 30 years ago. Jack and Annette traveled the world together, relishing their European adventures and loving the Arizona landscape and its cultural history. They enjoyed family visits in Prescott and cities across the country. Dickens, their pint-sized dog, was a frequent traveling companion.
In Prescott, Annette focused on her friendships, art groups, and book club. She was inspired by her ever-evolving art. Her latest paintings and collage compositions express ethereal, spiritual, and sometimes whimsical themes. Annette’s art has been displayed in Prescott galleries and now hangs in many homes in the Prescott area. Knowing that would make her happy.
Annette is survived by her companion, Jack Stanton; sons, Eric Olson and Mark Olson (Susan Mathews); daughter, Katy Olson; grandchildren, Brittany and Dustyn Zblewski; brother, David Hansen (Sally); sister, Jane LaRonge (Richard); sister-in-law, Dar Hansen; and many nieces, nephews and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Peter Hansen.
A private memorial was held by Granite Peak UU Congregation in Prescott.
Information provided by survivors.