July 23, 2020
Raymond Arthur Olson, retired Colfax teacher, passed away in Spokane, Washington, July 16, 2020, to join his wife, Jerrie, who passed away July 5, 2007. They were happily married for 57 years. Ray always said he was the most fortunate man to have a beautiful and intelligent wife, three wonderful children and a job he enjoyed going to each day.
Ray was born September 16, 1924, in Great Falls, Montana. Upon graduating from Sunburst High School, he enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and saw duty in the Pacific as a signalman on a destroyer, USS Ross, in the Armed Guard. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
After the war he attended the University of Idaho, graduating in 1950 with a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Education. On June 5, 1950 he married Geraldine Kelley in Moscow, Idaho, and in 1951 received a Masters' degree in Guidance and Counseling. Several years later, Ray received his Guidance and Counseling Credentials from WSU.
He taught 7th and 8th grade in Wendell, Idaho for three years and moved to Colfax in 1954 where he taught 7th and 8th grade math and science. Ray was highly regarded by his students in Colfax over the years as a teacher who made a significant difference in their lives. During the early 1960's, he took a variety of science classes at WSU over the course of four summers with funding from the National Science Foundation.
In 1968, he became the high school guidance counselor and retired in 1982.
He was an Eagle Scout and served as a scoutmaster early in his teaching career. He was a former member of the Masonic Order, Colfax Rotary, Eagles, and Elks. He was a paid-up-life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Ray was also a member of the National Education Association and active in the Washington State School retirees and served as President of the Whitman County Unit several times. While serving in the American Legion, he served as Commander of Colfax Post #41 and Commander of Department of Washington 7th District. He became a member of the American Legion in 1944 and was the oldest living member of the Colfax chapter.
He enjoyed horses and raising livestock on his family farm and growing a large family garden. Other interests included woodworking, the space program, science, astronomy, model ship building, reading and camping with his family in the mountains. His very special hobby was sailing his beloved sloop, Sea Gypsy, in lakes and throughout many Puget Sound adventures. His greatest sailing thrill was his attempt to almost circumnavigate the state of Washington from Puget Sound down the coast and up the Columbia River and Snake River.
Surviving are his three children: Deborah Maurus (Joe Wessman), Spokane, Wash .; Douglas Olson (Melanie) Bainbridge Island, Wash .; and Cynthia Doggett (Greg) Martin City, Montana.
Five grandchildren: Katie Cook ( Brian Sullivan) Bellingham, Washington, Meghan Maurus, New York City, N.Y .; John Cook (Emily LeCompte), Pasco, Wash .; Samantha Bonoff (Peter), Seattle, Wash .; Olaf Olson, (Katie) San Diego, Calif.
Five great-grandchildren: Asher Sullivan, Wade and Vera Bonoff, and Cora and Miles Cook.
Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is caring for the family.