Norman Olson
June 25th, 2020

Norman Ingebreth Olson peacefully passed to his eternal home on June 25, 2020, with his wife Barb at his side. Born July 11, 1922 in Faith, South Dakota, of Norwegian immigrant parents, Norm grew up with his five siblings on a farm near Faith. He attended the School of Mines in Sturgis and graduated from Augustana College. After serving in the US Army in Europe during World War II, Norm farmed with his brother Enoch near Platte, South Dakota. He received his Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and then answered the call to serve as missionary to Japan. In May of 1951 he married Nellie Mortensen, and they soon sailed for Japan, where they served as missionaries until 1973. Norm and Nellie raised four children in Japan, and pioneered several churches there. After returning to the US, Norm served in pastoral ministry in Sisseton, SD; Florence, SD; and Watertown, MN. After the death of his wife, Nellie, Norm married Barbara Kunze. They enjoyed 21 years of marriage and traveled to many countries. A dedicated runner, Norm continued to run 4Ks and 5Ks until well into his 90s. In retirement, Norm took a scholarly interest in WWII, and was active in reunions with his former unit, the 8th Armored Division. Norm’s interest in overseas missions never ceased. In 2000 he returned to Japan, where he was honored at the 50th anniversary of the Lutheran Church in the Tokai Region, and preached in Japanese to his former congregations. Norm deeply cared for those in his life, and loved connecting with friends, congregation members, mission community and family. He often traveled and phoned to maintain those connections.
Preceded in death by his father Ingvald; mother Anna; first wife Nellie; brothers Enoch and Andy. He joins them in the Cloud of Witnesses. Survived by his wife Barb; sisters Ida, Ruth and Sonja: children David, Daniel (Ann), Miriam (Peter), and John (Christina); stepchildren Mark (Janell), Robin (Steve), Greg (April), April Joy, and Tatiana; grandchildren Jerusha (Jason), Joseph (Moriah), Violet, Rolf, Dariya and Aleksandr; step-grandchildren Andrew, Dakota, Devin, Zoe, Pearl, Adriana, Ethan, Nina; and five great-grandchildren.
Memorial service was on July 19, 1:00 pm at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, Plymouth, MN. Inurnment was in Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery in Watertown, MN.
Memorials may be directed to Luther Seminary (; or to local food relief (
Please visit Norman’s Memorial Facebook page to share memories, tributes and photos.