Verna Jean Olsen

verna jean olsen

Verna Jean, “Jeanie,” Olsen died Saturday, August 11, 2012 at her home in North Fargo, surrounded by her loving family.  Jeanie was born in Beulah, ND on February 19, 1929, daughter of Benedict Sauer and Margaret (Knettel) Sauer.  She grew up in Browns Valley, MN and graduated from Browns Valley High School in 1946.  Jeanie worked for several years as a Linotype operator at the Valley News and also at the local movie theater, where she met Richard (“R. D.”) Olsen of Sisseton, SD.

 Jeanie and Dick were united in marriage in the Catholic Church at Browns Valley on December 27, 1951.  Dick was serving in the United States Marine Corps at that time and the couple made their home in Alexandria, VA.  Upon discharge they returned to Sisseton, but soon decided to return to college at Moorhead State University.  With Dick’s graduation from MSU in 1956, and subsequently from the University of South Dakota in 1958, Jeanie was always the patient and adaptable wife and mother whose love and devotion to family was total.  In the process of raising her own children, she completed three years of a degree in Library Science at North Dakota State University, during which she was on the Dean’s List several times.

 Jeanie also worked for eighteen years as a library aide in several Fargo schools, but primarily at Jefferson Elementary School.  During that time she developed further her deep love of children’s literature, and reading in general.  She was a lifelong, devoted reader of mysteries, historical novels, geography, travel literature, and historical architecture.  Jeanie loved gardening and kept her house and yard filled with flowers; she also loved traveling and camping, especially with her family, and watching old movies.

 She was preceded in death by her parents, Ben and Margaret Sauer of Browns Valley, MN; brother, Wayne Sauer of Moorhead, MN; and sister, Darlene Saxton of Elbow Lake, MN.  She is survived by her husband, Dick (RD); daughters, Catherine, Fargo, Elizabeth (Kevin), Brooklyn Park, MN, and Constance (John), Fargo; and son Christopher (Jennifer), Terre Haute, IN; six grandchildren, Molly (Bryan) Fern, Riley Verret, and Cody Verret, all of Fargo; and Emma Olsen, Charlotte Olsen, and Ross Olsen, all of Terre Haute; and a great-grandson, Brennan Fern, Fargo. She is also survived by sisters, Valeria Beebe, East Helena, MT, Margie Reinardy, Hemet, CA, Vivian O’Neill, Beardsley, MN, and Connie Hunder, Fargo, as well as sister-in-law Mary Lois Long, Great Falls, MT.


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  1. San Mateo, CA To Verna’s Family:
    I am so sorry for your loss. As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life’s routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Please find comfort in the following Bible verse, John 11: 11 where Jesus said: “… Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” Please also find comfort in knowing that our Almighty Heavenly Father holds out the hope of the resurrection and the ability to see our loved ones again.

  2. Loveland CORD and family,
    We are living in Loveland, CO now – closer to our family. I saw the Jean’s obit on-line. I so enjoyed knowing and working with Jean at Jefferson. She was so knowlegeable and personable. I know there is a big loss in your lives. My sympathy goes out to you. Martha

  3. Frazee MN
    My sympathies on the loss of Jean in your lives. Jean added a very special dimension to the children she interactedd with in the libraries. Such a kind and pleasant person. She will be missed.

  4. Salem OregonDick – I am sorry to hear of Jeannie’s death. My memory of her still has her answering the back door and smiling that you were down in the basement or out in the garage.

    My sincerest condolences to you and Chris.

  5. Salem OregonDick – I am sorry to hear of Jeannie’s death. My memory of her still has her answering the back door and smiling that you were down in the basement or out in the garage.

    My sincerest condolences to you and Chris.

  6. Moorhead MN
    Dick, I am so sorry for ther loss of your beloved wife. I am thinking of you and am always waiting for you with a hug. GOD BLESS.

  7. Colorado Springs ColoradoTo Mom,
    A beautiful soul to all of us. Your kindness and laughter will never be forgotten. You had such an enormous impact on my life. I would not be where I am today, an engineer working space programs, if it weren’t for you. I will love and remember you for the rest of my life. Heaven acquired a new angel. I love Mom!


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