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Strate Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Dennis Roy Olson

December 18, 1948July 3, 2021
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Saturday, July 3, 2021, Dennis Roy Olson, 72 years old, transitioned as a citizen of Spokane to his Heavenly home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dennis is survived by his wife Sharon; two sons, Brandon (Sarah) and Ben; three grandchildren: Emalynn, Reeve, and Everly Olson; and sister Connie Burchill, all of Spokane Valley, WA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Ethelyn Olson.

Dennis, born December 18,1948, in Ellensburg, Washington, came home from the hospital Christmas Eve. The family moved to Spokane in 1951. He proudly graduated from John R. Rogers in 1967, attended Spokane Community College, and graduated from Eastern Washington University in 1971 with a degree in elementary education. Later, he earned a Masters in Administration degree from Whitworth College in 1978.

Dennis married Sharon Yecha in 1980. Dennis was Sharon’s master teacher, and months after mentoring, he passed the test when she said “yes” to becoming his bride. They welcomed Brandon in 1982 and Ben in 1985.

As a young man, he won Christmas lighting contests, fiddled with car and home speakers, announced races at local speedways, and cherished his ‘69 Firebird. As a father, he loved building remote controlled and pinewood derby cars, coaching baseball teams, camping, boating, polishing his cars, and teaching his boys love of country. Dennis’ life defined patriotism!

Dennis served the Central Valley School District as both a teacher and principal for 33 years. He then taught at Spokane Community College for 16 years, completing 49 years in public education.

Dennis loved Jesus, directed many choirs, played piano and trumpet, sang in many Singing Christmas Tree concerts. He faithfully volunteered at Valley Assembly over the past 15 years teaching others about financial peace.

A memorial service celebrating Dennis’ life is scheduled for 10:00 am, Saturday, July 17, at Valley Assembly, 15618 E Broadway Ave. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Union Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 4066, Spokane, WA 99220 or online: https://www.uniongospelmission.org/donate.

Services

  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, July 17, 2021

Memories

Dennis Roy Olson

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Al & Mary Ann Hulten

July 25, 2021

We have so many memories of this wonderful, Godly, patriotic man. He was an encourager to me (Al), often giving me positive comments on my teaching. But he was mostly just a good friend - one to talk to, confide in, pray with, eat with. We will miss our meals together at Fiesta Grande, and our conversations about life, and about the things of God. So glad that we know we will see him again!

Barbara Windisch

July 25, 2021

Reading the other sentiments, it's easy to see that Dennis was an inspiration to so many from his family, church, students, staff, and friends. Dennis also had a tremendous impact on the Sun-Up Bay community. Of course the obvious one is through the display of patriotism with the annual fireworks show. Dennis and his family spent countless hours arranging details, compiling the music, feeding the pyrotechnicians, and announcing the show. Dennis was a positive influence for so many. Flags fly at many of the Sun-Up Bay units because Dennis provided and encouraged them. He and Sharon have been a positive role model for many of the youth at Sun-Up. Even his daily 10:30 break time had a positive impact. He was a great man. We will all miss him.

Katie Kirkbride

July 21, 2021

I have known Dennis since he first came to Sun-Up Bay. He was a great dad and was always involved in Brandon’s and Ben’s lives and imparted fatherly wisdom, not only to his sons but to all of us kids. He showed kindness in many ways by inviting us to dinner and he and Sharon gave me a gift when I had surgery a week after I first met them! Dennis took an active interest in my career in education and always asked questions and offered advice. I remember when Dennis first started talking about starting the fireworks at Sun-Up and his enthusiasm for the project. He became the voice of Sun-Up Bay’s Independence Day celebration and I would look forward to his music selections every year. Dennis was a man of great character, civic responsibility and a role model for others.

Kellie Ackermam

July 17, 2021

My first introduction to the Olson Family was through Sharon. I student taught across the hall from her in 1980-81 at Adams Elementry. Then I met Dennis. Many years later, one summer day in August of 1998, Dennis called to offer me a teaching position at the new Liberty Lake Elementary. I took the position and our friendship began. Dennis liked that we were both organized and neat nicks! He would tease me if something on my desk was out of place! He was kind and caring to teachers, kids, and parents. Being a Liberty Lake Patriot will always hold a special place in my heart. Dennis stood for all the right things in life. His service today was a perfect reflection of the man he was. God Bless America and may you RIP Dennis. 💙❤️

Jan Stachofsky

July 17, 2021

Before Dennis’s blue truck, I rode in his beautiful white big car (Cadillac??) to Bible Quiz matches with Dennis and Sharon as our coaches. After one match we stayed in the car and thought it would be funny to change all the dials so when he got back in the wipers would go off, the radio would be blaring, the air would be on, the time would be wrong...but it wasn’t so funny when we heard we broke the analogue clock and he had to take it to the dealer to be fixed. He never got mad at us or said anything. In fact he became my first employer. First babysitting his boys, then house sitting and finally as my boss at my first teaching job.
From my early spiritual formation to launching my career to being a life long inspiration of integrity, loyalty, and passion for life, Dennis’s legacy will continue on in my life.

Ann Gotfredson

July 17, 2021

Couldn't begin to share just A favorite memory. His sense of humor and ability to handle all his staff in stressful times with it really made working with him wonderful. My most cherished memory would have to be the morning of 9/11. He brought the whole school to the gym we shared an out loud prayer then a minute of silence...followed by the song I'm Proud to Be An American. Students spontaneously stood.. many of us crying...it was the RIGHT thing to do. So proud to work with such a Patriot.

Kraig Kochel

July 17, 2021

What an awesome family! Dennis will be missed on this earth, but is with his heavenly father now. My condolences to the whole family! I always loved seeing how he got into working on the pinewood derby cars and enjoyed listening when he played the trumpet at church. Take care Olson family our prayers are with you!

DM Freed

July 17, 2021

I first met Dennis 20 years ago. I was directed by HR to go meet with him for my new job at Liberty Lake Elementary. My current schools were shutting down (Keystone) and counselors were being reduced to one per building (North Pines Junior High). I drove to Liberty Lake, walked into the building and to his office. I had never seen Dennis before so I have no clue what he looks like. I walk to his door and introduce myself. With a total pokerface he says “How can I help you?” I got really nervous that no one told the guy that I was his new counselor! He let me squirm for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. He said, “I know who you are. Welcome aboard!” With a big handshake that became the beginning of a friendship that I have always cherished.
Dennis always took the time to explain things. The first thing he did was proudly walk me around the school and show me the flagship building. At this same time he informed me that I would be there longer than him and he wanted someone else to know how everything worked. I asked why and he said, “It’s a surprise. “ The surprise? He was retiring!
The one thing that people probably aren’t aware of is Dennis and I ate lunch together almost everyday when the recesses were over. I cherished this time the most. We never really talked work. Our conversations surrounded family, life events, and our walk as Christians. Let me make something clear at this point. When a young man (me) gets to sit with a wise man (Dennis) it’s a privilege. I am so grateful for his advice and friendship. To this day I can still hear his voice, us sitting at the lunch table and fellowshipping. It changed the course of my life. Thank you Dennis for your willingness to invest. I miss you but will see you someday (hopefully not too soon 🤣). I love you and your family. Thanks for letting me be a part of that. And when we prayed together over lunch each day, we always said, “In Jesus name. Amen” And that friends, is what it’s all about. ❤️

Janice Boyd

July 17, 2021

Dennis was the principal that hired me. I am so very grateful for his faith in me as an educator, this one event changed my life and that of my family forever. I was always so impressed with his integrity! He practiced an open door policy and was always ready to lend a listening ear, a friendly smile, and solid advice. He was always even-keeled, and didn’t even get riled when the pet snake from my classroom escaped! Dennis influenced and positively impacted the lives of thousands of people in his career. Thank you, Dennis!

Rachelle & Janelle Moore

July 17, 2021

We were lucky to call Mr. Olson our Principal when Liberty Lake Elementary opened after both having had Mrs. Olson as our teacher. Some of our fondest memories of Mr. Olson were school assemblies during which he shared his passion and joy for supporting learning of all students. He was always smiling and laughing, and he made sure every child felt cared for and successful. As a school leader myself, I hope to one day be half the principal Mr. Olson was. Sending our love to Mrs. Olson, Brandon, and Ben.
-Rachelle & Janelle

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