Cover photo for Charles (Chuck) L. Olson's Obituary
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Charles (Chuck) L. Olson

July 7, 1939 — May 16, 2023


Charles (Chuck) L. Olson

Boise, Idaho – Chuck Olson passed away May 16, 2023, surrounded by loving family in his home in Boise, ID at the age of 83.

Chuck was born in Chicago in 1939 to Tage and Amanda (nee Grafstrom) Olson. He attended Bryn Mawr Elementary School and Chicago Vocational High School in Chicago, IL. Chuck earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute, learning everything from the shop where his father once worked all the way to engineering design and production. He continued on to receive a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota and completed the management program at the University of Illinois.

In 1961, Chuck married his junior high school sweetheart, Bonnie (nee Bohne) Olson. Together they raised three children, Kurt, Christine, and Karen in Riverside, IL.

Following his 31-year career with General Motors, Chuck and Bonnie took advantage of an early retirement offer and moved to Boise, ID. There Chuck had the opportunity at Morrison Knudsen to assist in refurbishing the locomotives he had originally been involved in building. This new experience eventually took them on a year-long adventure living in southwest France where he helped build an all-electric high-speed train. They spent another two years in Hornell, NY, seeing it to fruition, and finally returned to Boise to retire.

Chuck was a very kind man. He had a smile, kind word, and time for everyone. He spent many hours at the swimming pool, science fairs, volleyball court, basketball court, music and theater performances, and cross country and track fields cheering on his children. His grandchildren, Jake, Eric, Megan, and Lauren entertained him with their music, sports, hobbies, interests and overall inquisitiveness and silliness.

Beautiful Webb Lake, WI, was Chuck’s second home. Having gone there with family since childhood, his dream of building a cabin came true in the early 70’s. Countless memories are contained in that home – fishing, hunting, swimming, waterskiing, tubing, canoeing, sunbathing, campfires, s’mores, the list goes on.

Chuck was passionate about his Swedish heritage and continued his family’s tradition of baking Swedish cardamom coffee bread, creating smorgasbords for holidays and eating horribly stinky foods at the new year. A lifelong fisherman and hunter, Chuck was also a voracious reader of everything from the daily paper to crime fiction novels and an avid football fan cheering on his favorite teams from his recliner.

Chuck is survived by his wife, Bonnie, children Kurt (Jan) Olson, Andrews, NC, Christine (Craig) Chvatal, Portland, OR; and Karen (Mark) Binder, Janesville, WI; grandchildren Jake and Eric Chvatal, and Megan and Lauren Binder. Survivors also include many cousins in the U.S. and Sweden.

A private celebration of life is planned for late summer.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles (Chuck) L. Olson, please visit our flower store.


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