Howard Olson

Obituary of Howard Stanley Olson

Howard Stanley Olson entered the home of Rev. Oscar and Josie Olson on July 18, 1922 and returned to his Heavenly Father on July 1, 2010. During that time he blessed the lives of many with his curiosity, humor, intellect, determination, and most importantly, unconditional love. Howard was ordained a Pastor of the Lutheran Church of America on June 16, 1946. One day later, he married Anna Louise, daughter of the Rev. Dr. George and Annette Anderson. They served as missionaries for 42 years starting first in the Singida area of Tanganyika and then in post-independence Tanzania at the then Makumira Theological Seminary. Howard received his PhD in 1965, but never stopped learning and doing. He was a remarkable theologian, linguist, and music ethnologist, working both in Tanzania and the United States to build bridges between people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and classes through literacy programs, translations, publications, songs and stories. He also constructed schools, dispensaries, and churches. More about him can be found here. Howard and Lou put their family together piece by precious piece, so that he is now a beloved husband, father of four (Howie, Sharon, Tim and Linda), and grandfather of seven (Hannah, Tanya, Tasha, Tadayo, Hunter, Gracie, and An Xiang). Howard entered the hospital for the final phase of his safari on the day of his and Lou's 64th wedding anniversary still singing love songs to his bride. When the family had gathered to say goodbye, Howard declared, "Today is a wonderful day and tomorrow will be perfect". Memorial services for Howard will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sun City Center, Florida on 12 July at 10 a.m. (USA) and in the Skyroom of the Augustana Complex in Minneapolis at 14:00 (CT) on the same day. Howard's family is establishing a memorial scholarship fund for Tanzanian seminary students. If you would like to make a donation to this, please send an e-mail to and you will be contacted once details are available. Howard filled our lives with love and is missed beyond measure. Mzee, tunalia kwa sababu umeondoka, lakini tunafurahi kwamba umerudi nyumbani: tunakupenda na tutaonana.
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