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Robert A. Olsen
July 20, 1955 ~ November 10, 2023 (age 68) 68 Years Old
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Robert A. Olsen, 68, of Sparta, passed away on Friday, November 10, 2023 at the Tomah VA with his daughter by his side. Robert was born on July 20, 1955 to Egon and Hilda (Sherpe) Olsen, in Sparta, WI.
Bob grew up in Sparta and was given the nickname of Egon by his closest friends. Bob graduated from Sparta High School in 1973. During high school Bob enjoyed time with his friends often cruising around town in his father's car known as the 'Gray Goat', hanging out at the bowling alley or the Rite Spot, chatting with the ladies, golfing, playing basketball, and hunting. During high school Bob earned his varsity letter in both basketball and golf. Following high school Bob joined the Army where he spent time in South Carolina, Texas, and Colorado; he served as a Medical Specialist. Following his honorable discharge, Bob went on to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Arts from Winona State. He then joined the Army Reserves and earned an Associate's Degree as a Medical Laboratory Technician and later became a Medical Technologist.
Bob got married, became a father to three children, and later was divorced. He spent time working as a Lab Tech, a state prison guard, and a Medical Technologist running a lab. Prior to and following his diagnosis, Bob loved woodworking and could make anything asked of him; he spent a great deal of time in his wood-shop. Bob continued to passionately golf, participating in and winning several tournaments. Bob's love for golf often got him into trouble as he practiced his 'swing' inside which a time or two resulted in a broken light fixture. In his later years, he enjoyed riding bike, walking with his dog, Buster, and spending time spoiling his four grandchildren.
In 1989, Bob was diagnosed with a stage 4 malignant glioma of the brainstem and was given a life expectancy of 12 to 18 months. He went on to fight and outlived that expectancy by decades. As Bob aged his body continued to suffer the results of having an incurable tumor, and he eventually lost the ability to fully care for himself. He spent his final years at the Tomah VA where he spent time fishing, winning 'big bucks' at bingo, playing pokeno, drinking Starbucks iced coffee, eating chocolate like it was going out of style, and giving the staff a run for their money, always being a stubborn jokester. Bob was a proud Veteran.
Bob had deep devotion for his family and loved them fiercely; he was always there to help. He was a kind, compassionate, and giving person. He enjoyed laughter and the simple joys in life. Bob was known for not saying a traditional goodbye, rather he would say 'Don't take any wooden nickels.' which he thought was just the funniest. Bob was dealt a rough hand in regards to his health, but he stayed determined and hopeful throughout his journey.
Bob is survived by his daughter Hannah Olsen and her children Hayden and Hazel; son, Jacob Olsen; grandsons, Elijah and Jace; brother, William (Bill) Olsen of Cashton; and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his son, Lucas Olsen; his parents, Egon and Hilda Olsen; his maternal grandparents, John and Anna (Bekkum) Sherpe; his paternal grandparents, John and Laura (Wilslev) Olsen, and many other family members.
Friends and family are invited for a visitation from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2024 at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, in Sparta.
A private burial with military honors will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be offered at www.schanhoferfh.com.
Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements