Virginia "Ginny" Louise (Merritt) OlsonJuly 29, 1921 ~ May 4, 2017 (age 95)
Virginia "Ginny" L. Olson (Merritt), 95, died peacefully in Duluth May 4, 2017 surrounded by family. She was blessed with a long life full of laughter, love, music, family and dear friends. A lifelong resident of Duluth, Ginny was born July 29, 1921. Throughout her youth she participated in Girl Scouts, earning the rank of Golden Eaglet and developing a strong affinity for outdoor activities. She graduated from the Duluth State Teacher's College (now UMD) and taught music and speech in Mountain Iron during WWII. At this time, she also served as choir director at Lakeview Covenant Church, where she met Gust D. Olson. She and Gus were married August 17, 1946 at Woodland United Methodist, where she would go on to serve as choir director for 40 years. She was active in United Methodist Women, Community Bible Study, St. Paul Episcopal Bible study and later Hope United Methodist Church. Her faith was a guiding principle throughout her life and served as a connecting point for her numerous community engagements, including her chaplaincy at Miller-Dwan Hospital. She also maintained a great interest in area history, including research into her great-great-grandparents and Duluth pioneers Lewis and Hepzibah Merritt.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Louise Coe and Merrill Clark Merritt, her brothers, Edward E. Merritt, William C. Merritt, Richard and Roger Merritt, her husband, Gust D. Olson, her daughter Mary L. Engstrom and her granddaughter Rachel R. Backman.
She is survived by her daughters: Katherine (David) Backman of Anoka and Margaret (Warren) Skinner of Duluth, her son-in-law David Engstrom; her grandchildren: Katherine (Greg) Courter, Paul (Bridgett) Backman, Aaron (Jeanine) Backman, Christine (Greg) Oberstar, Naomi (Todd) Larson, Nathan Backman, Elizabeth (Troy) Cardinal, Eleanor (Michael) Gonzalez, and 10 great-grandchildren: Grant, Hannah, Annika, Brock, Ryan, Lucas, Gus, Zada, Darby and Vincent. She will also be well-remembered by her many nieces and nephews and their families.
Her family sends special thanks to the thoughtful and compassionate staff of Diamond Willow for her care during her final years.
Visitation: 10am Saturday, May 13, 2017 until the 11am memorial service at Hope United Methodist Church, 301 W. Saint Marie St. In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to Courage Center or Hope United Methodist Church.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, Duluth, 218-727-3555.