Larry Lee Olson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dec. 13, 1935 -- Dec. 2, 2016

A funeral service for Larry Olson, 80, of Okoboji and formerly of Royal, was held on Dec. 7, 2016 at United Methodist Church in Spirit Lake. Burial was at Willow Creek Cemetery in Royal.

Larry Lee Olson, 80, of Okoboji passed away on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Born in Toledo on Dec. 13, 1935, he was the middle son of three boys born to Roy and Glee Olson. He spent his childhood on the family farm and graduated from Terril High School in 1954. After high school, he moved to Ames to attend college at Iowa State. He graduated with a bachelor's in agricultural business (the first class of its kind) from Iowa State University in 1958.

He was wed to his long time crush and classmate, Shirley Alexander, on Aug. 28, 1955. Their marriage bore three children: Julie (1956), Jeffrey (1958) and Lesa (1961).

Out of college, he worked as a bank cashier in Mechanicsville before moving to Manning and working at First National Bank. In 1961, he moved to Royal where he was hired as vice president and cashier at Home State Bank. In 1965, he would become the youngest bank president in the state of Iowa. A prudent and dedicated banker, Home State Bank would go on to consistently perform among the top banks in the nation. Honored by the Iowa Bankers Association in 2008 as a 50-year banker, he took great pride in principles of community banking and his close knit group of employees.

His dedication to banking was matched by his dedication to farming and his community. In the midst of his banking career, he soothed his soul by farming the land around his acreage. Not much relaxed him more than time on the tractor. He built a house on the property in 1978, where he raised his family for another 20 years. He was an active member of the Masonic Lodge in Spencer as well as being a Shriner, a member of the Royal Lion's Club and of the Royal United Methodist Church. He served on many boards including the Royal Telephone Board, Royal Manor Board and the Clay County Bankers Association. He later took an active role in the Okoboji Foundation and Lakeside Laboratory.

He retired from full-time banking in 1999 and he and his wife purchased a home on West Lake Okoboji, where he spent the remainder of his years. He enjoyed swimming in the lake in the summer and the YMCA in the winter, taking his family on boat rides, quiet hours observing nature with his wife, reading the newspaper, following the Cyclones, watching his grandchildren grow and play, weekly trips to the bank and taking in part in charity events and other philanthropic efforts.

A lifelong learner, he never missed a day of reading and listening to the news. He subscribed to National Geographic and kept abreast and active in environmental issues. He had a passion for history and a very soft heart for veterans and lives lost at war. He and his wife were avid world travelers, taking trips to places such as China, Turkey, India and Israel.

As serious and stoic of a man he could often be, he tempered this with a ferocious funny bone. He was well known for his unique sense of humor and often found to be playing pranks on his family members and coworkers. He had a healthy appetite for teasing and trickery and enjoyed the lighter side of life.

Though he found great satisfaction in his many years of banking, he considered himself to be a farmer first and foremost. He loved to talk farming and keep up with the latest trends in growing crops and raising livestock. Not long before he passed, he spent his last drive alone looking out over the rural farm landscape he knew and loved so much.

Larry is survived by his much adored wife, Shirley, of over 61 years, his daughters Julie (Randy) Jorgenson of Spencer, Lesa (Craig) Manning of Royal, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He is joined in heaven by his parents (Roy and Glee Olson), his brothers (Don and Scott Olson) and his son, Jeff Olson.

Turner Jenness Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.