On November 29th, 2020 under the light of the full moon and surrounded by her loving husband and children, Eldrid (Ellie) Ann Olson slipped away peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer. We were privileged to be touched by Ellie’s kindness, strength, humor, curiosity, and passion. While her friends and family will insist that she left this world entirely too soon, Ellie packed her life with charity, fellowship, laughter, and most of all love.
Ellie was born to Ann and Isaac Paulson in May, 1948. As the daughter of a teacher and Lutheran minister, Ellie inherited a strong foundation of faith, advocacy, and fellowship which she put into practice through her political, social, and environmental activism. In college at UW-Madison, Ellie helped organize the first Earth Day and demonstrated against the Vietnam War. After graduation, Ellie began a long career as a social worker, most recently she retired from Parkside Care Center where she was a positive force for the elderly community in her care. Ellie was a tireless champion of women’s rights and social equality. She was a longtime member and leader of American Association of University Women (AAUW) and a dedicated member of the Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities organization. In addition, Ellie was deeply engaged in fellowship at First Congregational Church and involved in many other civic activities.
Ellie met Jim Olson in 1975 and they soon began their loving marriage of 44 years. She gave birth to their daughter, Emily in 1979 and their son, Eric in 1982. Ellie filled her life with all that life offered. She enjoyed the song of the wood thrush from a bike ride, spring hikes with trillium blooms, loons calling to the campsite, reading, attending music events, visiting art museums, being in fellowship with her dearest friends, and most of all, being with her family and playing with her grandchildren. Ellie was dedicated to expanding her cultural horizons and had a curiosity to experience and enjoy all the world has to offer.
Ellie is survived by her husband, Jim; daughter and son in law, Emily and Brad Baumgartner and their sons Leo and Bill; and son and daughter in law, Eric and Melissa Olson. She is further survived by her niece, nephews and their spouses and children. She was preceded in death by her parents, Isaac and Ann Paulson, and her sister and brother-in-law, Nyla and Ed Alford.
Ellie was a truly beautiful soul. She taught us all what is important in life, not through her words alone, but through the way she lived her life. Her kindness extended not only to her family and close friends, but to all who knew her, and her integrity and strength of character touched the lives of many. Ellie was a wonderful wife, mother, “Gramellie” and friend and will be missed dearly by us all. Our tribute to Ellie is to live our lives as she has taught us.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, a Celebration of Life will be held at First Congregational Church once it is safe for her friends and family to gather. The family would like to give special thanks to the Theda Clark Regional Cancer Center and all of the medical professionals who assisted Ellie along her journey. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to AAUW or the donor’s favorite progessive organization.