1931 - 2011 (80 years)
||Donna Mae OLSON  |
- THE LIFE OF DONNA OLSON CHUCH
May 24, 2005
I was born on October 23, 1931 on a farm in Sister Bay, Wisconsin to Edward and Ruth Olson. I had 2 step brothers, Lloyd and Gunnar and 1 full brother, Bertil. All of the above family are deceased. My Dad passed away from cancer when I was only 7 years old. Gunnar joined the army when World War II broke out. The farm was too much for Mom to take care of, so she sold it and had a little house built closer to town.
During the summer months, we all worked. I picked cherries on my Uncle Wally's farm, until I was old enough to have a baby sitting job. Later I worked at a Grocery Store and Ice Cream Parlor.
When I was 12 years old, a week of Evangelistic Meetings were being held in the Village Hall. At one of these meetings, I accepted the Lord as my Saviour and was later baptized at church.
My high School years were filled with good times. My church (First Baptist of Sister Bay) had a good Youth Program for us as well as a good Sunday School teacher. Sunday afternoons were often spent with friends. I grew up having a "best friend". Her name was Marjorie, and we spent a lot of time together. Quite often after the Sunday Evening Service, a group of us friends would get together and do something, like go out for a hamburger or go to the Ice Cream Parlor. Sometimes, during the summer months, we would go to the park and go swimming and on occasions, we would build a little fire and roast marshmallows.
Now when winter rolled around and we had a good snow, we would dig out our sleds. There was a big long hill by our place, which was perfect because if you hit it right, you could go all the way down to the lake (if it was frozen over). However, you had to cross the main highway to get there. So one person would stand by the highway, and watch for cars. If there was one coming, and they knew you couldn't make it across, you would have to stop somehow, usually by plowing into a snow bank. Of course, even that was fun! Anyways, it was a nice long ride down, the hard part was having to walk back up! When Green Bay froze over, and we knew it was safe, we wold go out on it with our sleds and skates. I did not have ice skates, so I would use my roller skates - better than nothing!
I also took piano and violin lessons. I played in the church orchestra on Sunday Evenings and sometimes played a duet with my teacher, who was the choir director at church. When I was old enough, I sang in the choir too.
At sometime, during my last year of High School, my church had a group of young people come and hold special meetings, children's meetings, do visitation, etc. The group was a part of an organization called "God's Invasion Army", which was sponsored by the Baptist General conference. This group left a deep impression on me. They encouraged the young people and older ones too, to give up a year of their life, without remuneration, to join God's Invasion Army and serve the Lord in this way. They emphasized that special talent was not necessary, only a willing heart. I began to feel that this was something that the Lord wanted me to do. So the year I turned 19, I sent in my application and was accepted.
The year 1951 was an amazing year for me. After 6 weeks of training in St. Paul, Minn., I traveled with the group of about 50, to Southern California, stopping for a week in Salt Lake City, Utah first. As we traveled up the coast of California, we were divided into small groups as we went to different conference churches. We traveled by cars and two 12 passenger buses. There were a couple teams that were organized to go across Canada and then down into the Midwest area. I was in one of those teams. It was a long dusty trip, no air conditioning, but of so beautiful. One place we went we could only reach by boat. One home we stayed in had no electricity. I had to iron my clothes with irons heated on a wood stove - reminded me of what my Mother had to do when I was a child. As the year ended, my final trip was to go with a group out to Colorado.
I thank God for this wonderful year, and the many great experiences I had traveling with this awesome group of young people and sharing my faith with so man in so many different ways. So after a year like that, there was no way I could just go back home to "life as it was". I applied to Moody Bible Institute and was accepted.
When I returned home from the "Army", I found out tat my Mom was quite ill. (She never told me that she was not feeling well, because she did not want me to miss what I was experiencing and come home.) This left me wondering if I would really be able to go to Moody in the fall. Bert, and his wife,Donna, lived in a railer in the back yard and were watching over her, but I felt that it would be my responsibility to take care of my Mom. I prayed that God would heal her, but that was not His plan. About a month after I came home, God called her Home to be with Him.
I really loved my 3 years t Moody - lots of studying, lots of fun too. I carried a full load of classes and had 2 Practical Christian work assignments each week, such as teaching Sunday School, going to different Missions for services, going out on visitation, etc. In my last year of school, I decided to take piano lessons too, which required 1 hour of practice a day. When I started my second year, I was told that there was an opening on a Gospel Team - they needed someone to present the Evening School Program at Moody. Even though I was already carrying a full load, I thought it would be fun to do that. So I auditioned and was chosen. We went out to various churches twice a month and held a service and I plugged Evening School.
And then of course, I had to pay my own way through school, so I had to work. My first job was cleaning offices at school. Then I worked at a Drug Company, even packaged suppositories! Finally, my roommate Alice and I got jobs with a couple who made health food. We would sit facing each other with a scale between us, filling and weighing bags of this flour like stuff. They provided uniforms for us, because by the end of the afternoon we were covered with it. They were good to us, we had a radio to listen to and the refrigerator was always full of goodies for us and at Christmas time there were bonuses. It was a messy job, but it paid my bills!
After graduation in 1955, I was offered a position at the Addison Street Baptist Church in Chicago, as Secretary and Missionary. The pastor at Addison was my pastor from back home. There were a lot of young people there and I worked with them also, I was in charge of the Primary Sunday School Dept., directed the VBS Program, and was a leader in the Girl Scouts. I also sang in the choir. Every year I directed a Junior Girls Camp at Camp Hickory and spent many weekends there doing "book work" and helping with registration. My roommate, Eunice and I also set up and got a Library going for the congregation to use.
I worked at Addison for 8 years and made many friends, some of whom have been "life long" friends. I shared an apartment with Eunice for 11 years.
After these 8 years, I was offered the position of Secretary of the Midwest Baptist Conference. I worked there for 3 years, still doing camp work in the summer. Working for the Conference brought me in contact with the pastors in the area, one of whom was Chuck Johnson, pastor of the First Baptist church in Crown Point, Indiana. A few times he stopped by my office, and would tell me about this young man, who was his song leader and choir director. He really wanted me to meet him. When he told me that his wife had passed away and he had 3 little girls, I must admit a "wall went up" because I did not think that was something I waned to get into. However, one time when Chuck stopped by the office, he invited me to come to his church some Sunday and have dinner with he and his wife, Madalyn and they would invite Andy too. I gave in, figuring it wouldn't hurt to just meet the guy. So I went.
After dinner, Andy took me to his house to meet his Mom and his girls. When I saw these 3 beautiful little girls, my heart just melted. And now girls, you know the rest of the story. Many trips back and forth between Chicago and Crown Point, spending time together, falling in love with each other, and finally getting married on august 6, 1966. I thank God that He brought us together and made us a family. My girls are very dear to my heart. I love being their new Mom.
Besides being wife and mother and making a home for my family, I did the bulletins for the church each week and worked off an on at Lavines Dept. Store. When I got to know the ladies at church, I organized a Ladies Ensemble. We not only sang at church, but other places too. What a blessing that was and we had so much fun practicing together.
After 7 years in Crown Point, we sold our new house and moved to Florida. This was Andy's dream and I knew it would happen some day. We stayed in a condo unto our new home was ready. We found a "Church Home" with the McGregor Baptist Church, and I joined the choir and have been singing in it for 31 years now. In order to make ends meet, I went to work at Maas Brothers (now Macys) Dept. Store. I worked there for over 20 years.
In December of 1993, I had my first compression fracture in my back, due to osteoporosis. Being tat I was then 62, I decided to retire and collect my retirement pay (which wasn't much). It is now 2005 and I have had 5 more fractures in my back. With the last one, I had surgery on it. It's called Kyphoplasty. I also had Open Heart Surgery to replace my faulty Mitral Valve in January of 2001. they gave me a calf's valve.
So this has been my life in a nut shell these past 73 years. What's ahead only the Lord knows, but I'll keep walking with Him until He calls me Home.
but for now, I have so many blessings - my wonderful family, my 9 Grandchildren, 2 Great Grandchildren (One is through Shelton's marriage to Janene - his name is Austin). I just wish I could see them all more often.
-I Have many friends, some go way back to Addison Days.
-I enjoy being a part of the Worship Choir at Church.
-I also sing in the Senior Adult Choir. We are called "The Prime Time Singers."
We learn a Musical every year, and then take a bus trip and sing it in various places along the way. This is so much fun!!
-I enjoy the Senior Adult Bible Study each Thursday Morning.
-Love just sharing my life with my wonderful husband through good times and bad.
In closing, here are a few songs that I have come to love over the years: Great is Thy Faithfulness, Amazing Grace, How Great thou Art, I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary, Till the Storm Passes By, Jesus Paid it All, Until Then, Because He Loves, Jesus Led Me All the Way, I can Only Imagine, If You could See Me Now, and all the songs about Heaven. I'll Meet You in the Morning, The Midnight Cry, I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy.
P.S. Here is something else I wanted to tell you about my childhood. As you know, I was born during the depression, so times were hard. After my dad died, we lived on a monthly welfare check until Bert and I both reached 18. There always was enough food, but most of my clothes were "homemade", even underpants. If I ever got a dress that came from a store, it was usually a gift from someone or a hand me down, and I was elated. mom was a good seamstress and could make most everything, sewed for both Bert and I.
Presents at Christmas time were always pretty scarce. One Christmas I had hung up my stocking in hopes that Santa would come. When I got up in the morning and looked under the tree, there was only one box for both of us. Mom had taken my stocking and tied it onto the box. The box came from some of Mom's friends who lived in Chicago.
But in spite of not having much in my early years, I was a happy child, I had my brother to play and fight with and I have good memories of "life on the farm". We only had kerosene lamps. We had to carry in all our water from the pump outside, and our bathroom was the little "two holer" down the path in the back of the house, with the Sears Catalog inside.
||23 Oct 1931
||Sister Bay, Door County, Wisconsin 
|Cause of Death (Facts Pg)
||Congestive heart failure due to mitral regurgitation. Other significant conditions were pulmonary hypertension, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.  |
||18 Nov 2011
||Mission Viejo, Orange County, California [2, 3]
||Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville, Indiana
||11 Apr 2023 |
||Edward G. OLSON, b. 13 Mar 1883, Wisconsin d. 20 Nov 1938, Sister Bay, Wisc. (Age 55 years) |
||Rut Viktoria FAGERSTROM, b. 17 Nov 1891, Sweden d. 11 Jan 1952, Sister Bay, Wisc. (Age 60 years) |
||Sister Bay, Wisc.
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- [S02909] Personal Information from Donna (Olson) Chuch.
- [S02907] Personal Information from Darlene Kay Chuch Donovan.
- [S4521] Death Certificate for Doris Donna Mae Olson Chuch.