Cover photo for Richard Ray Olson's Obituary
Richard Ray Olson Profile Photo

Richard Ray Olson

August 26, 1948 — April 3, 2023

Richard Ray Olson

Richard Ray Olson (known as Rich), 74, died Monday, April 3, 2023 at the Buffet Cancer Center of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  Rich was born on August 26, 1948, to Winston Atly and Nellie Corinne (Warren) Olson.   He attended Kindergarten through 12th grade at Trumbull Schools, District 101, graduating from Trumbull High School in 1967.  He graduated from Central Technical Community College in 1969 and from Kearney State College in December, 1974.   His industrial arts major prepared him to be a skilled woodworker, carpenter and draftsman.

Rich lived his entire life on the Olson family farm in Clay County, Nebraska, which was settled by his Great-Grandfather Andrew Olson in 1877.  When Rich’s father Winston retired from farming, Rich was proud to continue a tradition of Olsons farming the home place.  In the 1980s, Rich purchased 160 acres of his own in Section 30 of Adams County.  He also furthered irrigation by buying three pivot irrigation systems. In 1994 he became a Northrup King seed dealer.

In 2010 he became an operating committee member of the Prairie Loft Center west of Hastings, which further demonstrated his long-time interest in promoting agriculture. 

He was a life-long member of Grace United Methodist Church, having served on the Worship Committee, the Staff/Parish Relations Committee, as Head Usher and on the building committee for the Family Life Center.  He also sang in the church choir, led the Pathfinders Sunday School class and attended Bible studies. He was a 10-year member of the church volleyball league, and operated the sanctuary sound system for many years. During COVID, Rich attended the Juniata United Methodist Church, one of 12 who spaced themselves throughout the sanctuary. He was a regular at the Tuesday Morning coffee group at the Juniata church.

Rich was an avid traveler.  He took 15 United Methodist mission trips to destinations in the southern U.S., and Central and South America, including a side trip to Machu Pichu. He went on 17 cruises during his life, including numerous sites in the Caribbean.  Among his favorite cruises were ones to the South Pacific and Hawaii, and one on the Rhine River from Basel, Switzerland, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

One of Rich’s greatest joys over the years was hiring and mentoring dozens of high school and college students, providing them with income while also instilling a love of the land in younger generations.

He was an avid supporter of the Hastings College Women’s Basketball and Volleyball teams and traveled to away games and national championships. Many volleyball and basketball team members helped haul irrigation pipe, mowed weeds, and came to the farm for bonfires and bbq’s.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Winston (2005) and Nellie Olson (2015), six beloved golden retrievers and Badger, the family corgi.

Survivors include his sister Bette J. Olson (and partner, Mike Smith) of Lincoln; brother Larry L.  Olson of Omaha; nephew Andrew Clabaugh (and wife Nana Adabie and children Frankie, Ellie and Julien) of San Carlos, California; niece Katie Bruss (and husband Jeff) of rural Bennet, Nebraska; and Harley, his surviving golden retriever (named after Rich’s grandfather Harley Warren).  He is also survived by his Aunt Marjorie Snodgrass of Lincoln, two Aunts-in law, Janice Warren and Rose Marie Warren, both of Aurora, Nebraska, and numerous cousins and their families.

Memorials may be given to Grace United Methodist Church, Hastings; Juniata United Methodist Church, Juniata; or Hastings College Women’s Athletics.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, April 14, 11:00 am at Grace United Methodist Church in Hastings, NE.  A light lunch will follow.  There will be a private family burial. Condolences may be sent to the family at Livingston Butler Volland Funeral Home & Cremation Center is serving the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Ray Olson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, April 14, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Grace United Methodist Church

1832 W 9th St, Hastings, NE 68901

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