Doris Anna Olsen was born in Lamont, Alberta, Canada to farmers Emil and Ludemilia Hennig on January 20, 1924. She passed peacefully at the age of 98 on February 23, 2022 in Grants Pass, Oregon, at Carl’s House, where she was lovingly cared for in her last 18 months.
She loved her childhood and parents despite having no running water, electricity or indoor toilet. She lovingly told stories of playing softball with “daddy” and those of her siblings old enough to play; of her father making a sleigh for the horses to pull the children to school; and of her mother sewing beautiful clothes and making special food. Hardest was losing two siblings in childhood.
After moving to Edmonton as a young woman, Doris met her husband, serviceman Tommy Olsen from Fairbanks, Alaska, in the USO Club where she loved to teach dance. Doris and Tommy were married in 1944. The couple moved multiple times until 1956, when they settled in Grants Pass along with their two daughters Gwen and Karen.
Doris worked various jobs during her lifetime, such as head of payroll for Canadian Pacific Airlines, as a stenographer in Fairbanks, Alaska; as a teacher in Grants Pass, where she developed and taught many years at the first kindergarten at St Paul’s Lutheran and where her love of children was obvious; and lastly as Tommy’s “at-home secretary.” Tommy sold Allstate Insurance but Doris would often take credit as “saleswoman", answering the home phone. She also volunteered at her home church that she loved, St Paul’s Lutheran in Grants Pass for 55 years until her health failed.
One of the positions she was most proud of was Volunteer at the Grants Pass Museum of Art where she greeted the many guests with her trademark friendly style for around 20 years until age 88. Doris was well known and loved especially during those volunteer years for her outgoing, fun nature, always very interested in whoever she was talking with. On the serious side as a younger person, as she aged Doris grew to laugh, dance and play more readily and really did love every person she met. She loved art, nature, sports, her family, and cleaning anything, even getting up on the counter at church to clean cupboards in her 80’s!
Doris also enjoyed visiting her daughter Karen and family when they lived in Washington DC, Senegal and Belgium. Her motto was “God loves everyone, God loves you and talks with you!” Her faith in “Jesus is taking care of me” was remarkable and held her until the end, even through ten years of dementia.
She is survived by one brother, two daughters and three grandchildren who loved their “Grammy” dearly.
She is buried at Hillcrest Memorial in Grants Pass. Donations in memory of Doris may be given to St Paul’s Lutheran Church or Carl’s House, both in Grants Pass.
A memorial service will be at held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, April 2 at 11am, 865 NW 5th St, Grants Pass. A photo gallery of Doris may be accessed at Hull & Hull's website www.since1928hull.com, with a place to leave comments.