Joan K OlsonDecember 21, 1938 ~ October 16, 2017 (age 78)
Joan K. (Youngdahl) Olson, 78, of Sparta, passed away Monday, October 16, 2017 at Rolling Hills Rehabilitation Center, Sparta. She was born December 21, 1938 to the late Einar and Hilma (Mohn) Youngdahl, in Austin, MN.
Joan grew up in the Austin area and graduated from Austin High School with the class of 1956. She continued her education at Luther College in Decorah, IA where she received a degree in Physical Education in 1960. Following graduation she accepted a position as Girls Physical Education Teacher in the Sparta Area School System. On December 28, 1961, she was united in marriage with David N. Olson at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin, MN. During her teaching career she taught for two years at Brookwood High School, after which she returned to the Sparta School System and taught there until her retirement in 1996. She did, however, continue coaching the girl’s golf team.
Joan founded the Sparta High School Girl’s Golf Team in 1974 and served as the team’s head coach until 2001. From 1995 through 1998, her teams earned four consecutive appearances in the Wisconsin State High School Girl’s Golf Tournament. Joan also started and coached the Sparta Junior High School Girl’s Track and Field Program. She was inducted into the Sparta Athletic Wall of Fame in 2002, and in 2004, she was inducted into the Wisconsin High School Golf Coaches Hall of Fame. Joan also was the first woman to serve on the Sparta Park Board. She was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sparta where she also taught confirmation classes. She was a proud member of the Gunderson Patient Family Advisory Council which was instrumental in the design of the new Sparta Clinic. “Joanie O” was an inspiration and tremendous role model to many students in Sparta.
Joan is survived by her husband of 55 years, David Olson, Sparta; 2 children, Brian (Mary) Olson, Farmington, MN; and Kristin Geier, Sparta; 2 grandchildren, Leif Olson and Annika Olson, Farmington, MN; and a brother, Duane (Beata) Youngdahl, Greensboro, NC. She is further survived by a special nephew, Gregg (Jeanette) Nelson, Saint Paul, MN; sisters in law, Beverly Olson; and Sharon (Gerald) Afdahl; a brother in law, Roger Olson; and several nieces, nephews, and close friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Einar and Hilma; an infant son; twin sister, Joyce (Youngdahl) Nelson; son in law, Joseph Geier; and a niece, Andrea Nelson.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, October 20, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Sparta, with Rev. Mark Kvale officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery, Sparta.
Family and friends are invited to call from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, at the Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, and on Friday at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of services. Online condolences may be offered to the Olson family at www.schanhoferfh.com.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the Doctors and Nurses at Gundersen Health System of Sparta and La Crosse and the entire staff at Rolling Hills Rehabilitation Center, Sparta, for the exceptional care given to Joan. They would also like to thank Pastor Mark Kvale for the spiritual guidance given throughout Joan’s journey.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Sparta Area Cancer Support (SACS), PO Box 130 Sparta, WI 54656 and/or Matching Funds for College Grant at Trinity Lutheran Church, 612 N. Water St., Sparta, WI 54656.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.