Roger Kenneth "RKO" Olson, age 87, of Spring Park, formerly Hutchinson, Minnesota, passed away on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at his home in Spring Park.
A private family service will be held at Oakland Cemetery in Hutchinson.
Military Honors by the Hutchinson Memorial Rifle Squad.
Memorial preferred to the Hutchinson Area Community Foundation at https://www.hutchinsonfoundation.org/ or another charity of your choice in Roger’s memory.
Roger was fond of saying, “I’m just a country boy.” It was the lens through which he saw himself his entire life. Born and raised in Lynn Township west of Hutchinson, he grew into a man who cared deeply about service to his community and its members, schools, Veterans and his church, Christ the King. Roger’s life was committed to excellence, service and honor.
As a teenager Roger participated in several school activities, 4-H and Future Farmers of America. After graduating from Hutchinson High School in 1952, he joined the Air Force and served during the Korean War and in the Alaskan Air Command. In 1957, Roger returned to Hutchinson and fulfilled his high school yearbook senior prophecy which said, “Roger Olson has settled down with Holsteins and a certain redhead on a farm near Heatwole.” He certainly did—Roger, better known as RKO, and his beloved bride Darlene put down roots south of Hutchinson where they started their family, established a dairy farm and began what would become a 34-year career at 3M. In the years that followed, the theme of Roger’s life continued to be leadership and service to the community.
Roger’s dedication to the Holstein community spanned many decades. He was actively involved in leadership roles within the Holstein Associations for McLeod County, Minnesota State and National Holstein Association. Roger received the Outstanding Young Farmer Award from the Jaycees in 1969 and was named Person of the Year in 1980 by the State Holstein Association.
Perhaps Roger’s greatest legacy to this community can be found in his work with youth programs and Veterans Affairs through the Hutchinson American Legion Post 96. He was a champion fund raiser for organizations dedicated to supporting youth activities. Each year he worked with the Hutchinson School District to bring together Youth and Veterans by securing speakers for the Veterans Day Programs for the elementary, middle and high schools.
He was frequently described by close friends as a “behind the scenes mover and shaker,” and it was often discovered that he was the active force in leading events and initiating projects around Hutchinson. Roger truly loved this community, and he was humbled and honored to be recognized as Mr. Hutchinson in 2012.
For Roger, there was no higher calling than honoring the American Veteran, and he was a tenacious advocate for Veterans Affairs. As a member of the American Legion, he served as Post Commander, Third District Commander and Department Commander for the State of Minnesota. On the American Legion National Level, he was a delegate to several national conventions, consultant on the Internal Affairs Commission, Department Representative for Foreign Relations, Credentials and Membership, and served as Vice Chairman of the National Resolutions Committee. Roger was also a Committee Member for the McLeod County Veteran’s Park in Hutchinson where he planned and emceed the Dedication Program. There was no softer spot in his heart than for a fellow Veteran.
Roger passed away very peacefully on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at the age of 87. He was preceded in death by his parents Virgil and Ida and his brother Earl. Roger is survived by his wife Darlene, his children Robert and Kathleen, and his brother Dennis.