Richard "R.D." Olsen

Richard Donald (“R.D.” or “Dick”) Olsen died in Fargo on Monday, May 4, due to the Coronavirus. R.D. was born August 13, 1929 in Sisseton, SD, son of Clare and Florence (Waldieck) Olsen. He grew up in Sisseton where he graduated from high school in 1947; the town and his childhood memories remained important for the rest of his life. On December 27, 1951 he married his beloved Jeanie (Sauer) in Brown’s Valley, Minnesota. They had four children and were married more than 60 years when she passed away in 2012. Nearly inseparable as a couple they traveled the country and much of England, rarely spending a single night apart. They lived for almost 50 years in their home in North Fargo, a memorable gathering place dear to family and friends. Dick and Jeanie were devoted, supportive parents who centered their life around family, always including their kids (and often kids’ friends) in meals, games, events, and epic summer camping trips. Drafted into the US Marine Corps during the Korean War, Dick served stateside for two years in Alexandria, Virginia, where he and Jeanie first lived. He returned to college in 1953 and received his bachelor’s degree from Moorhead State University in 1956 (earlier attending Huron College), and master’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 1958, both in history. He began a long and successful career in education, teaching history in Las Vegas for one year before returning to Fargo Central and North High Schools, retiring in 1988. He then taught part-time for more than ten years at Concordia College and NDSU. He received numerous teaching awards, including the most treasured that came from students at Fargo North; he was inducted into the North High School Hall of Fame in 2002. Students and colleagues admired R.D. for his mastery of content and witty lectures, and remembered him with affection and gratitude. His irreverent sense of humor enlivened all his classes, and many people thought he was one of the most genuinely funny people they ever met. For the 1968-1969 school year he taught at Dr. Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, England as part of the Fulbright Exchange program; this year abroad led to many subsequent trips and helped inspire his family’s love of travel and “the old country.” R.D. was nearly as well known for his love of old cars, owning close to 150 in his lifetime. His devotion to history and cars complemented each other, as did another passion: historic aviation, which he indulged through precise wood models built from scratch and a lifelong study of World War I and the Battle of Britain. Love of history held much of his world together, and no one in the family ever saw him read a piece of fiction. He and Jeanie also loved to travel and spend time with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Gatherings at the family house often included croquet on the lawn or long, raucous card games that frequently devolved into laughing more than playing the game. Richard was preceded in death by his wife Jeanie and his parents. He is survived by his sister, Mary Lois Long, Great Falls, MT, daughters Catherine and Constance (Greg), Fargo, and Elizabeth (Kevin), Minneapolis, and son Christopher (Jennifer), Terre Haute, IN; six grandchildren, Molly Fern, West Fargo, Riley Verret, St. Paul, MN, Cody Verret, Fargo, and Emma, Charlotte, and Ross Olsen, all Terre Haute, IN; and two great-grandchildren, Brennan and Ashton Fern, West Fargo. Due to the Coronavirus there will be no public visitation or funeral at this time, but his family plans to have an open memorial service as soon as possible. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Alzheimer’s Research Foundation ( or Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 research team ( A recording of the service will be posted to Boulger Funeral Home’s website on Monday, May 11, 2020.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Mr. Olsen was one of my favorite teachers at Fargo Central High School. Always engaging, fun and full of information. He was one of a kind – just made for teaching.

    He also got my husband involved in a vintage car club for imported vehicles. He had quite a fleet of beauties, mostly MGs, I think.

    My condolences to his family.
    Phyllis Heaton Hohle

  2. My condolences to the Olsen family. I know Chris well, and RD clearly was a positive and loving influence.

  3. One of the greatest educators I encountered in my career. I credit him for sparking my passion for history and prehistory.

  4. One of the best teachers in my long academic career. He inspired intellectual excellence, he brought history to life, and he helped me see the connections of art, architecture, politics, science, and history through his humanities courses. I still remember his wit, his wisdom, and some of his livelier lectures. The world seemed a worthier place with R.D. in it. He will be missed.

  5. Easily my all-time favorite teacher! An engaging and passionate teaching style that is unrivaled. I remember him with very fond memories. My thoughts and prayers to the entire Olsen family. -Tom Stiller

  6. RD was my history teacher in High School at Fargo North. What a great teacher – he made history come alive, he kept the entire classroom engaged, which was a very good thing. The rare student to doze off in class would very possibly have a chalkboard eraser tossed his way. One of RD’s specialties was his ability to make you understand how history impacted the regular people – the people he would call “Your average Joe Six-Pack” My name being Joe, I was frequently called Joe Six Pack by my friends. My sympathies to his friends and family. He was a good man.

  7. Mr. Olsen was, without question, the best, most passionate, interesting and knowledgeable teacher I ever had. He created in me a love of history, stimulated and encouraged creative thinking and led me to pursue my degree in history and political science. I will never forget his wit, his smile and his utter joy and excitement as he kept the past alive.

    My sincere condolences to the Olsen family…am confident you will smile as you celebrate a long, love filled life well lived.

    Alexa Oxley, FHS class of ‘63

  8. If I had a nickel for each laugh I had with RD, I’d be a very wealthy man! He was such an inspiration to me as a colleague, mentor and friend. He viewed teaching as his passion and not simply a job. It’s hard to fathom that such a brilliant mind is no longer with us. I will always treasure the memories of working along side him at North High for so many years. He taught me phrases that I’ll never forget such as “jockery” (too much emphasis placed on athletics and not enough on academics), a “third rate mind” (a teacher who didn’t take his/her job seriously) and of American pop culture he once said, “What we do, we overdue!” He was as they say, “One of a kind.” May he rest in peace in the arms of his beloved wife, Jeanie.

  9. Very sad news. Greatly admired R.D. I was fortunate to student teach under him and then join him on the faculty for a short time. He inspired my interest in history and i thoroughly enjoyed a few rides in the Morgan. So very witty and talented in his field. May you rest in peace Mr. Olsen.
    In loving memory…….

  10. My heartfelt sympathies to Mr. Olsen’s family. After reading his obituary, so lovingly written, I could imagine a backyard full of a close, giggling family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. RD was number “One” on my list of teachers. He made history jump off the pages of my text book with his knowledge and wit. I always enjoyed and looked forward to his class. After high school I often drove by his house hoping to see him working in his yard so I could stop and say hello to him. Rest in Peace RD, and thanks for some wonderful memories.

  12. He was a teacher that inspired me. I know many people that admired him as a teacher. He also had some of the coolest cars. RIP

  13. Mr. Olsen was one of the most inspired teachers ever. I took his AP History class at Fargo North in the 1980s and still remember it as one of thr best classes ever. I can’t imagine how many students he inspired over the years, but I count myself as fortunate to be one of them. Condolences to his family and here’s to a live well lived.

  14. He was an inspiring high school history teacher to many of us at old Fargo Central. My younger brother and my two sons both were fortunate to be able to take his classes at Fargo North. After he retired, I was lucky to know him as a colleague when he taught part-time in the NDSU History Department. He was wonderfully witty, cynical, and charismatic. His love for history and his commitment to engaging students was wonderful.

  15. RD – one of the best teachers, wits and friend I had the honor of teaching with at North High in Fargo. Regularly causing fits of bend over laughter in the hallways with his remarks and a loud guffaw in his appreciation of a good joke. Brilliant, kind and generous to everyone. When he decided to give up teaching Humanities, he asked me to take over. I was terrified and knew I could never come up to his standard. He gave me a hug and said “You are the one to do it! Just do it!” I will forever be grateful because it was my favorite class to teach during my teaching career. You were a star, RD. The favorite of all your students. And of us – your colleagues.

  16. I have very fond memories of R.D. He was one of my favorite teachers; he was a pioneer in team teaching, 11 grade US History was team taught by R.D. and Gary Hummel who left us way too early.

    After he retired from teaching, he worked as the parking lot attendant for Gate City Bank. I stopped there often for a visit when I was in town.

    I developed a life long interest in history and British sports cars from R.D. and sold him an M.G. TF 1500 that I had restored in Chicago. I was one of the school photographers at North High and took a photo of him and one of the autos he restored. He kept the photo in his garage.

    R.D.-thanks for the memories. To his family my sincere condolences.

  17. I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Olson’s passing. I grew up next to the Olsons and have very fond memories of their family while growing up. I also had him as a teacher at North High and I thoroughly enjoyed his class he was a great teacher. Praying for his children Cathy, Liz, Connie and Chris during this difficult time.

  18. Mr Olsen was an amazing history teacher that i remember with great affection to this day. I already liked history, and he increased my liking 10 fold. Such a dynamic and marvelous teacher. He made the material come alive. My deepest condolences to the family

  19. Cony, Greg, and the rest of the family;
    While selfishly saddened to read of Mr. Olsen passing I am comforted to know he is in a peaceful place, no doubt entertaining everyone with history through his eyes and getting answers to any questions he may have had left about events of the past. I know I am not the only one feeling that he was my favorite teacher at North. Please, know you are in my thoughts and prayers during this time of transition

  20. So sorry to hear of his passing. I remember enjoyable hours visiting his garage of classic cars and our mutual interest in British automobiles.

  21. Our deepest sympathies to the Olsen family. Dick was a great friend of my father, Don Papke, and I always treasured visits to the Olsen home to explore Dicks garage and check out one of his many cool cars. He was a real gem of a man and was always incredibly entertaining!
    The good memories will live on!
    Kia Kaha (Stay Strong) from New Zealand! 🙏🏼

  22. R.D. was the very definition of a good teacher and one of my favorites. I was fortunate to be part of one of the student tour groups he brought to England and (like my classes with R.D.) it’s an experience I will never forget.

  23. RD changed my life. I graduated from Fargo North in 1974. His classes gave me an appreciation for history and the arts that continue today. He made me think not just about the facts in history but also the causes and outcomes. He taught students to think critically about a subject and to realize that historical facts could be viewed from different perspectives. It is so sad that the disease that is causing me to miss the plays and concerts that I love took the life of the brilliant, engaging teacher who made me love the arts and history. He changed the world by changing the lives of his students. He will be missed.

  24. I moved to Fargo just in time to be in RD’s history class. What a blessing that was. As a fellow history freak, his class was a safe haven of adventure as I was trying to find my place in a new school. I will be forever grateful for that time. I can hear his laugh. I can hear him lecture. I can hear him speak with great fondness for his beloved England. He was an unabashed anglophile. Hey RD, say hi to Sir Winston for me!

    RD lives on in so many students that he touched. That is the legacy of a great teacher and a great man.

  25. So sorry to hear of Mr RD Olsen’s passing. I was very lucky to have him as a teacher,and laughing quite often in his class. If I remember right we used his “car” in our Homecoming pictures. Class of ’80. Which was very cool. Such a nice man. He will be missed

  26. My condolences to his family. Thoroughly enjoyed his classes and his passion for teaching.

  27. To this day, I can’t see classic automobiles or artworks (including his favorite, “The Three Cheerleaders”) without thinking of RD and smiling. His passion and enthusiasm were extreme and contagious. His chuckle frequently echoed through the hallways of Fargo North, and always brightened my day. RD was a classic.

  28. Chris and all of the Olsen family. So sorry to hear this news. I have such fond memories of sleep overs at your house when we were young. How many kids got to watch actual films like “El Alamein” and “Zulu” at sleepovers?! Your father was certainly an amazing and impactful teacher. He inspired a love of travel and European culture in me which I have tried to pass on to my own children. I hope you find solace and peace in each others company during this difficult time.

  29. My thoughts and prayers for all the family and friends of Mr. Olsen. He was my favorite teacher! I took his class at North for two years. To this day I have a deep passion for history thanks to him. His excitement and energy teaching was unmatched. He made history fun and his laughter was infectious. May he Rest In Peace.

  30. He loved the ZULU unit and put on his hat and had his “sword”??? Not sure of that. He lived a wonderful full life. I had been wondering about him.

  31. History was always my favorite subject and I loved Mr. Olsen as a history teacher, but he also got me hooked on Humanities. He was an amazing teacher! I will always remember the walking tour he took us on to study the architecture of old Fargo. He was never boring and always inspiring!
    Beccie Andrews – FNHS class of ’79

  32. My sympathy to the Olsen Family. R.D. and Jeanie Olsen were friends through being Fulbright Exchange Teachers to England. When my daughters and I returned from Nottingham, England, I had extra space in my garage on South 10th Street to store a car for R.D. My answer to his question of the charge was: Free as long as it was his Blue MG, so Blue MG was kept covered with a blanket only to be uncovered to show my friends his precious “Little Blue.” Thanks for the fond memories. Rest In Peace, R.D. and Jeanie.

  33. Hands down my favorite teacher of my entire schooling years growing up in North Fargo! I credit him for my love of history and I in turn passed this love on to my own children! So many stories he told and stories of him in class I have stored in my memory! Those of us who had him as our history teacher are grateful for the hours of story telling, only broken up by the tests he had to give, of the people in our history lessons for which he had such a love for! He used to say that “we who live in Fargo live in the armpit of the world all warm and safe from all the nuts and fruits” and then laugh uproariously! He will surely be missed, but many of us carry many good memories of him! I’m sorry for the family’s loss and pray for their comfort!

  34. Condolences to the Olsen family from the Hennessy students who had him at Fargo Central and Fargo North. History was the subject that I was least interested in — to my personal regret, currently – but HIS class sparked an interest and he was the best history teacher I had EVER!

  35. Ah, Dick — when last we visited, you mentioned that this time would come. Now here it is. But you were tickled with the book I wrote that mentioned you prominently, and with only a little memory prodding you recalled some of the events of our time together at Fargo Central. It got better in later years — mostly having to do with cars. I recall the day we took off with Stan Carlson towing a trailer behind one of his Buicks, seeking the original flathead V-8 that had been in the Ford Sportsman woody convertible. The fun part is, we found it! It was sitting in a barn up by Devils Lake, covered in an oily tarp, and still had the original exhaust manifold heater that had come with it. I recall the day you got the woody wagon with its original seats still unsat because it had been used as an ambulance. As for the other cars, I remember most of them vividly, as we would visit in the vintage garage you had built behind your house. Sure — the cars were nice, and it was a good experience to deal with them. But far more interesting was just the talk – the discussions about this or that, putting them into an historical perspective derived from long years of study and teaching history. Divine Right Monarchy may indeed be the only sensible way to run a nation, but you had a combination of admiration and some distrust of a representative republic simultaneously. That wasn’t ideology — that was Realism. Through all of it, the sense of humor came shining through every time. I always believed that bespoke a deep personal love and appreciation for the fun of being alive at this time in history, in this nation, in that state and city. I said my good-byes at our last visit. I knew I would miss you, and I have. You made my life richer by having been a mentor, a teacher and a great friend. Reading the comments from others, so many feel the same way. A life well-lived. Be at rest. With deepest personal regards…

  36. I had the pleasure of getting to knowing Dick as one of the sky way walkers. He frequented the Mayor’s Office on his daily walks with his delightful disposition and witty humor. It had been several years since I saw Dick, but he left me with fond memories of an intelligent man who loved his dear Jeanie, his family and his collection of cars. I have often thought that we need more people like Dick in this world. My deepest condolences to his beloved family and friends.

  37. Your dad was a teacher long after he retired from teaching. Even late in life, he shared his unique view of the world, making me laugh and think and reflect. He was a treasure, and I’m grateful to have known him. You four “kids” plus Greg and Mary Lois always impressed me with how much you loved him — how you visited him, cared for him, brought him cheer. And always with dignity. My sympathy to you in your time of grief and loss. Your dad will be missed.

  38. I am so sad to hear of RD’s passing. RD was the finest instructor I had in high school. He was not one to provide the answer. Instead he encouraged critical thinking and skepticism. RD was also an inspiration and a mentor to my sister Ann who went on to earn a doctorate in history. Rest in peace, sir.

  39. RD was a Dear Friend whether it be old cars, historical photos, or just sitting down talking which we did often. Valley Vintage Car Club has lost one of it’s finest members. He will always be remembered for his humor, kindness, knowledge, and loyalty to his friends. I will truly miss him.

  40. One of my favorite teachers. I finally learned how to take good class notes from him, which vas extremely helpful in later years. R.I.P Mr Olson

  41. My heart goes out to the Family. RD was one of my Dad’s best friends. I shared their interest in old cars and airplanes that continues today. I learned so much and never laughed so hard. I treasure the memories and feel so fortunate to have known such an interesting and genuine guy.

  42. Dick Olsen was very good friends with my grandpa Lowell Lundberg, they were bonded by an obsession with history and old cars. I remember visiting Dick at his “downtown office” (parking lot booth) with Lowell where they would finalize plans for the upcoming weekend’s old car swap meet excursion. Dick Olsen was an absolute joy to be around. The world is a better place for him. I will always remember him fondly.

  43. I feel so fortunate to have been R.D. Olsen’s student at both North HS and NDSU. History was an easy sell for me – it was always my favorite subject – but Mr. Olsen was one of a kind. The obituary captured him perfectly. His love of history (especially the British variety) was infectious and he absolutely was one of the most engaging teachers I ever had, not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. Reading these comments in the guestbook has brought back a lot of memories. I can’t help but note he passed away during Teacher Appreciation Week. Don’t ever think for a minute teachers don’t have a lasting impact on people’s lives! My condolences go out to the whole Olsen family. Rest in Peace, Mr. Olsen.

  44. One of my instructors at Fargo North and neighbor on 5th St N. He gave respect to all and was respected by all.

  45. Somebody in our U.S. History class once quipped, “R.D. stands for Real Deal.” He was. Undoubtedly. Keen intellect (although, of course, far too conservative in his world view for know-it-all high school seniors!). Quick wit. Infectious laugh. An amusing but wonderful intolerance for homecoming and anything else that distracted from education. Liz, we have lost track of each other over the years, but I would love to hear from you and share some classic stories about the Real Deal.

  46. To Chris, whom I knew from Edgewood Golf Course days, and to the whole family of R.D. Olsen.

    Mr.Olsen had a big impact on me as a teacher and as a person. Plain and simple, Mr. Olsen made history fun. During class he would show us slides from his family trips to Europe. (R.D.: “Here’s a picture of my son, Chris, and me playing cars in the sand at Calais while we were waiting for the ferry boat to cross the English ChanneI!”) His sense of humor about things was just great. (R.D.: “Of couse, at war against each other, both the French and the British felt that God was on their side! Har, har,har!”) Then there was his collection of cars–the woody station wagons, the Corvairs, the Jaguars (pronounced “Jag-U-ar” by Mr. Olsen) and the idiosyncrasies of them all (R.D.:  “The Brits ruled the seas for hundreds of years, but that can’t make a car that will start in the rain……Har, har, har!!!”). I will never forget Mr. Olsen and I will never pronounce “Jaguar” any other way.

  47. R.D. was an original organizer in our local car group, The British Iron Society, While I only knew him in that venue, I love it that most comments here are from former students of his history classes. The mark of a man is if he is appreciated in his chosen craft. RIP RD!

    By the way the Morgan in the photo is a 1956 Plus 4.

  48. A grateful student from Fargo North, class of 1979. This is what I posted on Facebook upon hearing of R.D.’s death, and a number of my high school classmates chimed in to agree:

    “When I was in high school in 1978-79 in Fargo, ND, I had a teacher named Richard “R.D.” Olsen. He taught a class in Humanities. The first class was a slide show called “It’s a Classic” or “It’s a Masterpiece,” I can’t recall which. It was all pictures of famous works of art, architecture, and even classic cars (some of which he owned) and he talked about what made them timeless classics.

    I kept the textbook from that class for many years – full of pictures of great works of art and famous buildings.

    He had a great sense of humor and a booming laugh, and would say inappropriate things that a teacher could never get away with today. After making some irreverent comment he’d say, “Quote me and I’ll call you a liar!”

    For a kid from Fargo, he really opened my eyes to a larger world. He made a great impression on me and really influenced my life. I wish I had told him that.

    I just learned that R.D. passed away this week at the age of 90, apparently from Covid.

    This is national Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers, you do make a difference, and you never know whose life you may have changed – even if they never told you.

    RIP, R.D. — and thank you”

  49. David, Mark, Jim and I wish to extend our sympathy at the loss of your dad.. he was a favorite of the boys,

  50. I was a student in Mr. Olsen’s world history course in my junior year at Fargo Central (1962-63). He made many quotes to us students, and one that has stayed with me, even until today, was: “You’ll love college. Those will be the best years of your lives’.” Darned if he wasn’t right!
    As I continued on in my chosen field of teaching, coaching, and ultimately guidance counseling, I worked with many great educators. Mr. Olsen would be at top of that list if I compiled one. He is, and always will be one of the teachers that I will always remember, for how he taught his class and how he treated us students.
    My deepest condolences to his family. Know that he has had a tremendous effect on, probably, thousands of students from his classes throughout his career. I consider myself very fortunate to have had him for a teacher.

  51. My condolences to RD’s family and friends. As so many of the tributes make clear, RD was a master teacher, a splendid colleague and a good man. He was, for many of us, a person we could count on for insightful commentary, comic relief, empathy and understanding. When I was an administrator at North, I was particularly grateful for his ability to engage students, set a high bar for his colleagues, and speak intelligently and candidly about how we might strengthen the curriculum and operations of the school. He made an indelible imprint on my life and the lives of so many others. Thank you, Dick. Rest easy.

  52. I’m Conny, #3 daughter, as Dad called me. He also called me midget when I was little. I loved him so much. He was indeed larger than life! I always thank God that I was so blessed to be born to such wonderful parents!! We were very lucky.

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments!

  53. On my daily trek to Court I had to cross the Gate City Parking lot where the traffic director-wizard of words-decent human being, Dick Olson presided. He has to be one of the nicest and funniest men I’ve ever known. It was a joy to see Bill Yuill, Lowell Lundberg and Larry LeClerc try to outdo each other with their sports car with Dick egging them on. On one particular day I had to impose a sentence on an individual whose case was tried the day before. Without saying who the defendant was I shared with Dick what had happened and told him I was uncertain what to impose. I gave him some of my idea’s and without skipping a beat he made a suggestion that was spot on. I bounced off to Court and imposed that sentence and neither Dick nor the Scofflaw knew what had happened nor did anyone else until this post. RIP to a great man and condolences to his family. TAD

  54. One of the best instructors in my entire school career. I am so sad at his passing and feel so lucky I got to experience him as a teacher!

  55. R.D. was my teacher at North. He made lectures come alive. I think he wanted me not so much alive on the school trip to England Scotland. I was the one who got lost in London on the first day of the trip. When I finely made it back to the Hotel, I was told to call him. A loud voice came over the phone, “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN, WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOUR BEEN.” I simply replied “lost.” As a parent and adult now I better understand the situation. He did say he was getting ready to call the hospitals and police. I’m lucky he didn’t sent me home. I got to experience the trip with a true anglophile with wit and a great laugh. He also bought beer for all the students on the trip. He also would have liked that I typed this. When I started using a type write for papers, He wrote on it “Bless this man’s machine.” He will be missed

  56. Mr Olson was my history teacher in the early 70 s at North High
    He made the class so interesting. I just loved going to class
    He was the best teacher I had. I just love seeing him drive around in all his different cars.
    Thank you Mr Olson.
    So sorry to hear of his passing and prayers to his family. Rest in Peace.
    Marianne Hektner Johnson

  57. RD was the most passionate teacher I ever had in my entire educational career and made me truly enjoy history – which was never an area that interested me much until he came along. We loved him, loved to tease him about the French and try to sneak French flags into the room and hang them up and watch how long it took him to find them and launch into a tirade about “the frogs”. It’s been 35 years since I sat his in his classroom and I still remember how much he meant to me. He will be missed.

  58. All these wonderful amazing expressions of respect and love for my father have confirmed what I always knew. He was indeed a unique and very special man. I miss him so much. Thank you all. Everything seems a bit dimmer and lackluster without his bubbling laughter and grand ideas. Life was to be lived and savoured. We won’t let you down Dad. We will try to be the best we can as you were. Bye for now.

  59. I went to England and Scotland with RD Olsen in 1980 just out of high school. He gave us free reign. All he asked was that we didn’t embarrass him. We were a bunch of high school seniors that wanted to go to shows and pubs. We didn’t embarrass him. He made you want to learn and want to experience and he was the last person you’d eve want to let down. I remember he collected Jaguars and I remember you did not want to fall asleep in his class…chalk flying at a hundred miles an hour hurts. My favorite teacher.

  60. I went to England and Scotland with RD Olsen in 1980 just out of high school. He gave us free reign. All he asked was that we didn’t embarrass him. We were a bunch of high school seniors that wanted to go to shows and pubs. We didn’t embarrass him. He made you want to learn and want to experience and he was the last person you’d ever want to let down. I remember he collected Jaguars and I remember you did not want to fall asleep in his class…chalk flying at a hundred miles an hour hurts. My favorite teacher. He knew what mattered.

  61. Sending our thoughts and prayers from Harris Schenck, Pat Schenck and Coco Brendemuhl to Dicks family.
    Dick was truly one of dads very best friend and meant so much to us as a family. Glad dad was able to visit him 2 mos. ago before things got shut down as he’s visited him almost monthly over the years since Dick quit driving.
    Growing up I always looked forward to going to Olsen’s house and spending time with my dad and Dick in the garage listening to them talk cars and seeing all of Dick’s beautiful vehicles and especially his Woody Wagon.
    He will be very missed. Sending love and hugs to the family at this difficult time. God bless his amazing, wonderful memory. Coco~

  62. I only knew R.D. through the British Iron Society and had met him a few times going through Fargo. He was indeed one of a kind, a gentle soul and a witty and funny individual. While I had not seen him in a while I retain great memories of the few times we met. RIP Dick.

  63. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful memories so many people have shared about our dad. Thank you!!

    I have always felt so incredibly lucky to have him as my father. He was such a fun Dad! We were always a very close family and Dad was the center of most activities. He and our mom provided us with such a rich, loving, caring, and intellectually stimulating environment in which to grow. I know he didn’t like “jockery”, but he taught me how to play tennis and we played for many years together. I still love it and play often. I remember suppers when Dad would lecture about history and we always asked if we should take notes (which, thinking back now, was probably his rehearsal for his next day’s class!). He told great stories of growing up in Sisseton and meeting our mom. In fact, they were so vivid that from an early age I thought I had lived in the 1930’s and 40’s! Probably not many teenagers were blasted out of bed on a Saturday morning by the sounds of bagpipe or military band records, but we were! Our family trips were usually by car so we were fortunate to hear many funny stories and lots of historical narration as we drove. We laughed a lot!
    Thanks, Dad, for the beautiful life you provided for us. I will cherish you in my heart and memory. I miss you.
    I love you forever!
    Elizabeth Clare

  64. R.D. was my favorite teacher. I went to England and Scotland with him in 1980. On that trip we had free reign a times as to what we wanted to do. Like go to pubs or concerts or just explore London or Edinburgh or wherever we were at. His words,,, he gave us free reign but, and he said “don’t embarrass me”. We didn’t embarrass him, we respected him. And that was in contrast to other groups from Oklahoma or some other state that had chaperons and they could not do anything outside of the official tour. They were locked in bed at eight at night. He was one of of a kind and a very good man. I saw Frank Zappa in London, saw the play Jesus Christ Superstar at the Palace Theater. It’s something special that a guy can keep a bunch of 18 yr olds in line because they have so much respect for him that they don’t dare let him down. Loved him.

  65. You were one heck of a teacher Mr Olsen! We also loved seeing you drive around in your woody! Take care and keep instructing us from above! Prayers for the family. Dennis and Karen Kooren

  66. I just heard and am very sorry for your loss.
    R.D. was my teacher and I still remember the sound of his voice and some of his jokes… maybe even a little history, too!

  67. Being RD’s student was an adventure! His wit and humor made the hard work fun — and he insisted on his students working hard to get a good grade. I’ll never forget him sitting on his desk, tapping his shoes with a gigantic pointer while he lectured. His humorous tangents were legendary, especially when he expounded on features of the new Fargo North building that he didn’t appreciate. His critique of colored coat hooks (replacing lockers, if I recall) made me laugh so hard it hurt. God bless your memory, RD, you made me a better student and a better person for having been in your class! I send my deepest sympathy to RD’s entire family. Stephen Vining (Fargo North Class of ’72)

  68. May RD be at peace now and with his wonderful wife.

    My deepest sympathies to his family. I was a friend of Elizabeth. Since we’re both in the Twin Cities area, I hope we can get in touch again soon, socially distanced of course.

    I spent a fair amount of time at the Olsen house, since it was on my way home from school. RD and Jeanie were so welcoming. Never once did it feel awkward to be inside one of my teacher’s homes.

  69. I missed the initial announcement of RD’s death but read about the memorial in the 7/26/21 Forum. A truly great teacher and man. I would come to the memorial if I wasn’t so far away and didn’t already have guests flying in. My most sincere sympathy and condolences to his family.
    Mary Tallman
    FCHS 1964

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