Wykoff native featured resident at Ostrander Care and Rehab
Thursday, September 27, 2012 3:34 AM
Resident of the Week at Ostrander Care and Rehab is Ethel Olson, who has lived at the facility for the past few weeks, having relocated from her home in Spring Valley.
Ethel was born Feb. 7, 1918, to parents Louis and Rosa Niemeyer, and was named Ethel Emma. Three sisters and a brother - Fern, Arvilla, Raymond, and Adeline- preceded her in birth. Beverly and Carol were born later.
With the family living in the Wykoff area, Ethel was baptized at St. John's Lutheran Church in Wykoff before the family relocated to a farm near Chatfield. Her brother, 10 years older, left the farm to work in a local hardware store, and Ethel and her sisters helped their parents with the farm work. Ethel vividly recalls milking cows as part of her evening chores.
When she was very young, her father purchased a Farmall tractor, with Ethel quickly learning to drive it. She recalls the iron lug wheels being altered in order that she could drive it from Chatfield to Spring Valley in order to help replant a hailed out crop on a relative's farm. The sisters worked hard with their parents on the farm.
Although Ethel attended high school for several years in Chatfield, she attended Wykoff High School and graduated in 1935. She and her sister Beverly had rented an apartment, allowing Beverly to complete confirmation and the eighth grade.
On June 6, 1941, Ethel married Norman Olson at a pastor's home in Rockford, Ill. Prior to the marriage, Norman and another young man had left Spring Valley in pursuit of jobs in Rockford, with Norman landing a position in a dairy. In June 1942 Norman joined the military and served for three and a half years in England, with Ethel at home with their new son, Vincent. Later, their daughter Diane was born.
Ethel and Norman lived in Spring Valley all their married lives and after his return from World War II military service they purchased a building where he established "Olson Body Shop." Norman eventually retired because of vision problems. Ethel and her husband spent a number of winters in Florida and also enjoyed many bus trips. Norman died in 1994.
Ethel loved to mow her large lawn with a rider mower and take care of her garden. She was a saver and often found uses for many of the things she saved. She worked at Ben Franklin in Spring Valley and has been an active member at First English Lutheran Church.
Ethel's children, Diane (Garry) TerMaat and Vince (Linda) Olson, both live in the area. Her grandchildren, Wayne and Trever TerMaat and Tim (Tammy) Olson, live in Spring Valley. Her granddaughter, Tomi Kay (Olson) Best (Dan) lives in Apex, N.C. Ethel is also blessed with three great-grandchildren, Tyler Olson, St Cloud; Kayla Olson, Rochester, and Connor Best, Apex, N.C.