The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

Marian Joyce Olson


Marian Joyce Olson was born Oct. 9, 1921 to Roy and Eliza Bolton in Fairfax District close to Dufur, Oregon, starting life as a premature baby born at home and living in the bread warmer of the wood stove, and when finally being weighed at the age of 6 weeks she was 2 pounds 6 ounces. She proved the doctor wrong by living a full happy life, with family and intelligence. Her final breath was July 3, 2018 during her sleep.

Her home in Oregon contained cousins and horses—school was also important. The summer before she started high school, her family moved to Centerville on the creek where she lived the majority of her life. She remembers the first trip to Centerville wondering what country they were in since the only language she heard was Finnish! She enjoyed high school and made lifelong friends; one of them William (Toehead) Olson became her husband two years after graduation. She graduated valedictorian of the class of 1939 while Toehead was salutatorian—he would have been valedictorian if he had opened a book his senior year!

Joyce and Toehead were married Aug. 24, 1941 under the willow tree that still stands in the front yard of the family home. Jay was born the next year followed by Lee, Craig and finally Liisa. She always said she wanted seven boys, but World War II changed her plans.

Joyce stayed at home and helped Toehead with the farming and ranching along with raising their children. Her loving, firm discipline was applied not only to them but to any child she encountered. After Liisa graduated from high school and left for college, Joyce filled her time with volunteering at Centerville School as a reading aide and finally music teacher. Her love of children and music allowed many to learn how to play the piano with her loving and patient guidance. She never met a child she didn’t love, and to this day Mrs. Olson is remembered fondly by many. She was the pianist for Centerville Church of Christ for many years as well as Sunday School teacher, and she sold Avon. Her kindness and smile put many at ease and allowed them to learn and enjoy music and reading. She felt that any child should have the chance to at least participate in piano and would travel to their homes instead of having them travel to her—it was less expensive for families that might not be able to afford lessons and travel expenses.

Joyce is survived by her children Jay (Judy), Lee (Saundra), Craig (Cindy) and Liisa Olson Pangle (Larry); nine grandchildren: Ty, Sam Olson Counts, Chip, Kristin Olson Matheny, Eric, Matt, Wade, Lexi Pangle and Lanna Pangle; 18 great grandchildren; and six great- great grandchildren; as well as the extended families of Dale Thiele and Darby Hanson. She truly blessed all of us with her wisdom, grace and love.

In lieu of flowers her family is asking for donations to a school music program so that her love of children and music will not be forgotten. Services will be July 14 at 2 p.m. at Grace Brethren Church in Goldendale with a gathering at the Centerville Grange following. If you have a memory or story to share, please write it down so it can be added to her memorial album.


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