David Rolf Olson: 1934-2023
David Rolf Olson died peacefully at home on Jan. 3, 2023, at the age of 88.
He was born at Moe Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. on June 7, 1934, to Clifford and Berna (Holland) Olson. He attended Lowell Elementary School and Washington High School in Sioux Falls and graduated from Augustana College in 1956. After graduation from Augustana, he taught a year of English and music at Humboldt High School. He then worked at the Sioux Falls Public Library for several years.
In 1960, he wed Janice Rae Rosenbaum, a marriage they celebrated for 62 years. David and Janice moved to Denver, Colo., where he went on to earn a master’s degree in Librarianship from Denver University in 1965. While at DU, he was pianist in the Denver University Jazz Band and performed with them on a three-month U.S. State Department good-will tour of the Far East. He worked at the Denver University library before moving to Vermillion, S.D. in 1967. At the University of South Dakota Library, he worked the remainder of his career as reference librarian and head of public services until his retirement in 1996.
While his profession was library science, David’s greatest passion was playing jazz piano. He played professionally throughout the tri-state area, most notably with the group Jazz Portraits. He was also an avid fisherman and a golfing enthusiast, enjoying both every summer with his family at their lake cabin in Northern Minnesota.
Survivors include his wife Janice of Vermillion; son Rolf Stefan Olson (Anne Waltner) of Parker, S.D.; daughters Sonja Marie (Don) Waltner of Freeman, S.D. and Karin Elizabeth (Kevin) Farrell of New York, N.Y. Grandchildren are Kieran, Kristin, Brennan, and Stephen Waltner, Emily Claire Farrell, and Margreta, Alice, and Lydia Waltner Olson. Preceding him in death are his parents, Clifford and Berna Olson.
A celebration of life service was held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Monday, Jan. 9. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Augustana University School of Music, c/o the David R. Olson Memorial Fund. Send to: Augustana University Attn: Dr. Peter Folliard, 2001 S. Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197.