Serving Whitman County since 1877

Robert Nord Olson

Jan. 31, 1930 - June 7, 2023

Robert Nord Olson, 93, longtime resident of Palouse, passed away at Regency Retirement and Assisted Living in Pullman June 7, 2023.

He was born Jan. 31, 1930, in Champaign, Illinois, to Fred and Gwendolyn (Schick) Olson. He and his parents moved to the family farm near Palouse in 1932, and he graduated from Palouse High School in 1948. He began farming after attending Washington State College and Cal-Poly Tech at San Luis Obispo. For the first few winters, he worked for Willard Lange on a sheep ranch in Franklin County. Bob was a careful and conscientious farmer, and very committed to conservation practices, which was recognized by the Palouse Conservation District by naming him Conservation Farmer of the Year. He farmed alone, generally with no help except during haying season. Farming solo, especially during harvest, required a lot of walking – a habit that he continued regularly until a few short months before his passing. The Olson farm was one of the last in the area to be hooked up to electricity, in approximately 1944.

Bob married Maxine (Swinney) Dawdy in June 1972. She passed away in Dec. 20, 1995.

He served on the Palouse Grain Growers Board of Directors and was very instrumental in the renovation of Palouse's Roy Chatters Newspaper and Printing Museum following the flood of 1996. Bob's grandfather was the editor and publisher of the Palouse Republic in the early 1900s. While in his 80s, Bob continued his support of the museum, by helping build and take down sets for the annual fundraiser, Haunted Palouse. Modest and taking few breaks, he was admired and appreciated by fellow (younger!) volunteers for his hard work and pleasant demeanor. He enjoyed working in his yard and flower gardens, and friends and family appreciated gifts made in his woodshop. He enjoyed reading, especially related to area history and agriculture.

He retired in 1995 but like most retired farmers, continued to help out on the farm.

He moved to Regency Retirement and Assisted Living in Pullman in 2018.

Preceding him in death were his wife Maxine, stepsons, Tim Dawdy and Monty Dawdy, and step-granddaughter Jaime Weeks. Survivors include his brother Arvid Olson; stepchildren Vicky Dawdy, Terri Walters, Bill (Tommie) Dawdy, step-son-in-law Craig Walters; 10 step-grandchildren and several step-great-grandchildren.

There will be interment of cremains at 11 a.m. at Palouse Greenwood Cemetery on June 21.

Memorials can be made to Whitman County Historical Society, PO Box 67, Colfax or Friends of Hospice, PO Box 484, Pullman.

Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, WA, is caring for the family. On line condolences may be left at


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