Paul Wendell Olson
December 6, 1931 – September 10, 2021
Paul Olson was a husband, father, brother, friend, and mentor. He was a community volunteer and leader who served on the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors for more than 40 years. He passed away on Friday September 10, 2021. He was 89 years old.
He loved basketball, which he played through his early 60s, including at the Senior Olympics in Salt Lake City. He loved all kinds of candy, which often filled his pockets and always his briefcase and office drawers. And he loved his wife, Andrea, a high school Fiesta Queen and college salutatorian at Iowa State University, whom he married on September 17, 1960, and with whom he raised three children.
He was a small town Minnesota boy, born and raised in Dawson, a close knit rural community in the southwestern corner of the state, the second son of Clarence Eugene Olson and Ouida Rue Olson. He took lifelong pride in his first job, sweeping floors at Hovland Drug Store as a pre-teen, and in his role on the 1948 Dawson High School basketball team that went to the state tournament. He talked fondly of his graduating class of 18 boys and 18 girls and stayed in touch with many of them throughout his life.
He attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where he studied business administration and history and started at center on the football team. He served active duty in the Counterintelligence Corps of the Army in Fort Hood, Texas, during the Korean War. He made a career in sales and marketing and managed and then owned several small firms in the laboratory testing business. His career took him through Minneapolis, Kansas City, Peoria, and New York, before landing him and his family of five in Devon in 1969.
He made his most lasting impact in life, though, as a family man and as a community volunteer and leader. In addition to his service on the Tredyffrin Township Board, he was active as a member of his church, St. Luke Lutheran in Devon, and in youth sports. He coached for the Strafford Eagles, the Paoli Wildcats, Teegarden summer basketball, and the Devon Strafford Little League, where he also served as President for a number of years in the late 1970s. He served on the board of directors for both Red Cross of Philadelphia, through whom he donated blood on more than 600 occasions, and for Surrey Services for Seniors.
Paul believed that community service, in addition to improving the community, could enrich the lives of those serving and had the power to connect people of different backgrounds and experiences. He would often encourage friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to participate in community life. He was not an enemies person, and there was not a person he served with, worshipped with, or coached who he would not greet with a warm smile and, more often than not, a firm handshake or a hug. Among Paul's proudest achievements in township government were saving the Strafford Library, establishing Mazie Hall Park in Mount Pleasant, and helping to secure a triple-A rating on the Township’s bonds.
He is survived by his ever loving wife Andrea; his children Mike (Marilyn) of San Diego, Dave (Judi) of San Mateo, and Kris (Bob) of Paoli; five grandchildren Carly, Miles, Michael, Hunter, Jack, Sam, and Maddie; and his brother Don (Barbara).
Services will be held on Saturday, September 25th, at 11AM at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Devon, located on 203 North Valley Forge Road. The family requests that those wishing to express sympathy consider making donations to the American Red Cross.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Paul Wendell Olson
September 25, 2021
I am very sorry for your loss. Paul was such a good man in every way, always easy to talk to and so very friendly. My thanks to him for his encouragement and support at the Men’s Breakfast events. We will miss him. My sincere apologies for not being able to attend his funeral, my thoughts and prayers are with you and family at this time.
September 25, 2021
We were next door neighbors of Paul and Andrea’s for 15 years. Paul was the best neighbor, he was always positive about whatever came his way. I loved it when he would recite all of the Tredyfferin Twp stats….he was very proud of his service to the Twp. He and Andrea were a great couple. Paul, now you’ll have time to catch up on all of those newspapers. Rest easy, my friend.
September 24, 2021
I loved taking my walks at night and running into Mr and Mrs Olsen. We would talk about many different topics. He was a very gentle man and had a great disposition. He always seemed so happy. Although I had not seen him for a while he was always in my thoughts and always will be.
September 23, 2021
Paul Olson was my friend Mike’s dad. Paul, Bernie Andrews and my father, Ray Westphal, played a friendly game of basketball, often including Jaye, Mike and myself in their games. In my eyes, as a teen, Mr. Olson was somewhat larger than life. He was such an example of what collegial competitiveness could look like. He’d wink at me as if to say “I know you’re just a kid, but that you see much more than adults give you credit for”. Weird, but I felt like Mr. Olsen “got me”.
Oh, and watching him pinch Ms. Olsen on the derrière in the kitchen was also an education that I would never forget!
With the fondest of memories and the warmest of condolences to the Olson family.
Lucinda Hammond Marturano
September 22, 2021
Pail was a gift to mankind. When perplexed about a decision to serve as a local committee woman, he had the right words for me to discern between politics and civics. If only his caring example would be matched in these days. Thank you Paul for being a reasonable civil servant with unmatched integrity. “Well done good and faithful servant” be the words you hear now.
Photo from TTRC, May, 2017:
September 17, 2021
Thank you, Paul for your years of dedication to Tredyffrin Township. Our interaction while you were on the board and I was with the police department was always meaningful. Rest in peace.
Lieutenant Michael J Spirito (ret)
September 15, 2021
A neighbor for almost 30 years in The Shand Tract, Paul was a friend, a mentor, a man of honor and always ready to find the solution to local/Township challenges. Paul always followed up, and followed through! Always! And he was so persuasive in such a congenial way; Paul convinced me to serve on the Library Foundation Board, and an additional Township Committee. How could I ever say “no” to a man who gave so very much? Seeing him on a walk, or helping him during various elections brought me closer to him, and Andrea. A man who made a very large difference in our world, and our local community, and I am proud to call him my friend. God bless you Paul, and thanks for everything! God’s grace and comfort to Andrea and all family and friends….
September 15, 2021
I had the honor of serving with Paul on the Tredyffrin Board of supervisors. He taught me so much. He always was an advocate for the people and everything he he did was for community. Paul served without hubris or a desire for self promotion.
The biggest lesson I learned from Paul is that “we are all God’s children”. He listened and made a difference ….plus he always had good chocolate!
September 15, 2021
I had the pleasure of working with Paul for a number of years at Tredyffrin Township. He was one of kind - always ready to listen, and help anyone - If you had a problem, he wanted to try and help.
There was never meeting where he didn't have some candy and we made sure to have some out for him to enjoy.
His smile was contagious and he always had a way to make you laugh.
He was a man of honor, integrity and caring. He made the world a better place.
September 14, 2021
During my time at Arbour Square, I had gotten to know both Paul and Andrea very well. They were inseparable. Paul always made everyone smile. He would always greet me with a handshake and always had some sort of candy on him. Paul’s heart was made of gold. He cared about everyone around him, especially Andrea. There wasn’t a day that went by that Paul didn’t tell me all of the wonderful things that Andrea had done, and then of course Andrea would have a comical response and we would all laugh. He will never be forgotten. My heart goes out to his family.