Ralph Edward Olsen was born April 9, 1923, in Minneapolis, Minn., to Oscar Lenhart Olsen and Rose Amanda Johnson Olsen. Ralph passed away on Saturday, April 20, 2019, from prostate cancer. He reached the age of 96 years and 11 days.
After attending evangelistic meetings on Jan. 14, 1934, Ralph accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. At this time, he usually only attended Sunday school. When he was 12, he joined the Boy Scouts and memorized the Scout oath, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.” This started him thinking about his relationship with God, and he began going to Sunday and Wednesday church services regularly. Ralph was then baptized in 1936 and became a member of the Grace Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
Ralph grew up and attended schools in Minneapolis, graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1941. After High School, Ralph went into Military Service with the Army Air Force in WWII from March 1943-February 1946. He was stationed in Guam. It was during this time he felt God calling him to be a pastor. Upon his return to the States, he attended Bethel College and Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., graduating in 1955. On June 20, 1947, he was united in marriage to Agnes Lillian Olson. They had the privilege of sharing married life for 52 years. To this union three children were born: Steven, Jonathan and Cheryl.
Ralph pastored churches in Lonetree (Now Berthold) and Killdeer, N.D.; Marysville, Kan.; Howard, Kan.; Rawlins, Wyo; and Ulysses, Kan. He was humbled and blessed to be able to serve the Lord in this capacity. He retired in 1985 and moved to Bridgewater, S.D. During retirement, he supplied pulpits of surrounding churches in the Bridgewater area. He, along with Agnes, enjoyed gardening and attended the activities of their children and grandchildren, and he was able to visit their great-grandchildren on occasion.
Agnes passed away on July, 19, 1999. He moved to the Trail Ridge Retirement Community in Sioux Falls, S.D., in September of 2007. He lived there for over 11 years, making many friends and welcoming newcomers to the facility. Due to declining health, he moved to Good Samaritan Society-Luther Manor in November of 2018. He remained there until his death.
Grateful for having shared his life are his children: Steven and wife Joy, Jonathan and wife Peggy, both of Wichita, Kan., and Cheryl and husband Glenn Wollman of Crooks, S.D.; eight grandchildren: Amy (Andrew) James, Jeremy (Nicole) Olsen, Kimberly Olsen, Bethany (Josh) Hildebrand, Timothy Olsen, Jennifer Wollman (Ted Ehrlich, fiancé), Benjamin Wollman and Heather Wollman; nine great-grandchildren: William James, Mia James, Madelyn Olsen, Abigail Olsen, Julia Olsen, Natalie Olsen, Lydia Hildebrand, Tanner Wollman and Jace Wollman; and a cousin, Donna Kramolis of Washburn, Wis. Preceding Ralph in death are his parents; his wife; and his sister, Phyllis Carlson.
A memorial service was held Saturday April 27, at First Baptist Church in Sioux Falls. Memorials may be designated to First Baptist Van/Bus Ministry.