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Clifford Milton Olson, Jr., 83, of Fergus Falls, MN, passed away at Pioneer Cottages, Fergus Falls, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Breckenridge Lutheran Church with a visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Pastor Mark Manning will officiate. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery, Breckenridge. Arrangements have been entrusted to Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home, Breckenridge.
Cliff was born in Breckenridge, MN, on March 12, 1936, to Clifford, Sr., and Berenice (Olson) Olson. In 1954, he graduated from Breckenridge High School and continued his education at North Dakota State College of Science. While at NDSCS, he worked for National “T” and was later drafted into the United States Army, in 1958, during the Vietnam War. Cliff returned to the United States after two years in the Army and went to Moorhead State University. In 1963, he graduated with a Bachelors in English literature.
With the ongoing Vietnam War, Cliff entered the service for the second time in 1963 and was stationed in Germany as a medic. His first lieutenant Robert Janoska commended him in a letter of appreciation stating: “Such devotion to duty and professional knowledge cannot fail to benefit your unit and the United States Army, and thus bring personal success to you.” Dedication, humility, and hard work made up the fabric of Cliff’s endeavors. This work ethic carried over to his career at the Wilkin County Highway Department where he began working part-time in 1969. Eventually, Cliff obtained a full-time position that he would maintain for over 32 years.
After retiring in 2001, he lived at Twin Town Villa, Breckenridge, and then a short time at St. Catherine’s Living Center, Wahpeton. Most recently, he lived at Pioneer Cottages in Fergus Falls.
Over the years, Cliff was actively involved with Breckenridge Lutheran Church. He served on the church council board, ushered, and participated in the church choir. Always one to serve others, Cliff enjoyed volunteering whenever he could, especially at Breckenridge Public Library and St. Francis Nursing Home-putting in over 1000 hours! It was important to Cliff to give back to the community which he expressed through heartfelt donations. In his free time, he spent countless hours poring over World War I aerial memorabilia, movies, and books. Old-time baseball was another area of interest for Cliff, especially the “greats:” Lou Gehrig and Walter Johnson. He also enjoyed old movies, despite not watching much television, and loved listening to jazz music and Elvis Presley. Cliff had a big heart and was genuine in all that he did; he will be greatly missed by those who knew him.
Cliff is survived by several cousins; long-time friends, Steve Neppl and Clark Dybdahl; and those he considered family, employees of the Wilkin County Highway Department. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford and Berenice Olson.