Obituary: K. Wesley Olson

DASSEL, MN (August 29, 2017) — K. Wesley Olson, retired superintendent of the Midwest Conference, died Monday, August 28. He was 87.

Wes was born February 10, 1930, in the dining room of the family farm in Bird Island, Minnesota, to John Arthur (Art) Olson and Mabel Anderson Olson. They initially named him Gerald.

The grueling breach delivery threatened the life of his mother, Mabel, and almost certainly meant the death of the child. The family prayed that God might save them, and God answered their prayers. Mabel lived to the age of 88, and “Baby Gerald” almost as long.

In response to their answered prayers, the family committed him to the Lord in holy baptism on April 10, 1930, at the Methodist church in Bird Island, and changed his name to “Karl Wesley,” a name they deemed worthy of a preacher. It was a fact they hid from him until after his decision to enter the ministry.

Wes earned an associate’s degree at North Park Junior College, and graduated from North Park Theological Seminary. He also earned a bachelor of science degree in anthropology and history from the University of Minnesota. He also did graduate course work at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He married Harriet Settergren on June 29, 1951.

He served Elgin (Illinois) Covenant Church; Roseville Covenant Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, Salem Covenant Church in New Brighton, Minnesota; and the Evangelical Covenant Church in North Mankato, Minnesota. He served as the Midwest Conference Superintendent from 1986 to 1995.

Survivors include his wife; three daughters, Lynda (Jason) Olson-Lee, DiAnn (Thomas) Bloomquist, and Brenda (Gary) Redding; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A son, Kent Wesley (Debra) Olson, preceded him in death.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 10 at Dassel Covenant Church. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, September 9, and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. before the funeral.



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  1. Wes and I tracked together since our teens- Bible camp, seminary, neighboring pastorates, Council of Superintendents. He was a great friend who served the Lord and His church with deep devotion. Our conversations picked up where we left off, and we will talk again in glory.

  2. As the camp pastor/speaker at an elementary age (Trailblazer) week at Bluewater Covenant Bible Camp in Minnesota during the early 1980s, during which I was the summer program director, Wes creatively humored the campers who, through a week-long “gag gone epic”, wanted two cardboard camels to get married and adopt a baby cardboard camel. (You had to be there). I was shown how to go along with a heartfelt, camper-initiated, spontaneous flash-mob moment while still honoring the biblical sanctity of marriage. He honored the campers while avoiding dishonoring a holy ceremony. Years later I became the director of Twin Lakes Bible Camp and Wes was my conference superintendent. He had forgotten the camel ceremony but I was able to remind him of the impact he had on the theology of someone newly called to ministry. Peace, and smiles, to his memory.

  3. K. Wesley blessed my life in so many ways. He spoke words of wisdom and expressed care it always seemed at “just the right time.” Peace be to his memory.

  4. Wes was truly a man of God. He was a people-to-people pastor listening without judgement and providing a response that brought clarity to any issue. He mentored many as a pastor and friend. His peace to the family.

  5. Wes was truly a man of God in the many ways he met the needs of people. You could say he was a person-to-person pastor. He listened without judgment and provided a response that honored the teachings of Christ. He seized opportunities to mentor individuals which resulted in a deeper Christion life. His peace to the family.

  6. K. Wesley was a caring servant of the Lord. He blessed many people through the years of his ministry. I know that he was a blessing to Gary and me when he served at the Evangelical Covenant Church (now Crossview Covenant) in N. Mankato, MN. Praying for comfort for his family at this time. Peace be to his memory.

  7. Wes was a much-loved pastor in Mankato, Minnesota. Wes and Harriet were a great pastoral team. They set the groundwork for the growth and expansion of our congregation. Personally, Pat and I lost a great friend in Wes’s passing.

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