We’ve Moved! 400 Hammond Road West

James Olson

April 9, 1934 - October 14, 2020
Traverse City, MI



Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Cherryland Floral
1208 S. Garfield
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 941-5761
Driving Directions
Web Site

Blossom Shop
1023 E. Eighth St.
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 932-9470
Driving Directions
Web Site

Flower Station
341 W. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 946-1742
Driving Directions
Web Site

Lilies Of The Alley
227 E. State St - Alley
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 360-3620
Web Site

Premier Floral Design and Gift Emporium
800 Cottageview Dr., Ste 55
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 947-1167
Driving Directions

Life Story / Obituary


James Robert Olson, 86, of Traverse City, died Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

He was born on April 9, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio the son of Edward and Dorothy (Courtad) Olson. He was raised in Traverse City and his family owned and operated Olson’s High Lake Resort. Jim graduated from St. Francis High School.

He joined the US Air Force and was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. In the Air Force he worked on aircraft, fuel systems, tested engines, and developed technology. While in the Air Force he met his future wife Wilma also called Willie at a USO dance. Willie married Jim and surprised him after a deployment by choosing to become Catholic on her own while he was gone.

Jim was known as a machinist and spent over 50 years of his life using his skills in various industries. His 20 years at Cone Drive Gear saw him rise through the ranks to supervisor. After a short stay in Texas, Jim went back to his love of using his hands and fixing machines. He spent the remainder of his working life at Sara Lee bakery, helping to improve the efficiency of the machinery.

Jim was a retired Fire Chief for East Bay Volunteer Fire Department and the Grand Traverse Metro, serving over 40 years. He was a member of Christ the King Church and previously St. Francis Catholic Church.

He enjoyed his family and friends, playing the guitar, motorboats and all things mechanical. He loved airplanes and in his younger years he enjoyed photography.

Jim is survived by his children, Richard Olson, Joe (Eileen) Olson, Terrie Olson, Janet (Will) Salazar, Chris Olson and Deb (Jeff) McNail; grand children, Mary, Olivia, Madilynn, Claire, Colleen, Joseph, Caleb, Jocelyn, Sean and Kirsten; great-grandchildren, Naomi, Dominic, Ryan, Oliver; brothers; sisters, nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents, wife, Wilma Jean Olson; son, Dale Edward Olson and two brothers.

A visitation will be held 4:30pm to 7pm, Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at Life Story Funeral Home. Mask are required at the funeral home and recommended at church. Due to construction you can only gain access to Hammond Rd from the West (Garfield Rd). A limited amount of people can be in the room at one time due to Covid 19 Executive Orders. The family requests friends join them and pay their respects, say hello and exit to allow others the same opportunity.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 am, Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at Christ the King Catholic Church. The family will greet friends starting at 10 am and the Rosary will start at 10:30 am.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the East Bay Fire and Ambulance, 110 High Lake Rd, Traverse City, MI 49696.

Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to share your thoughts and more.