Robert H. “Bob” Olson


Robert H. “Bob” Olson, 80, of North Platte, passed away on May 29, 2013, at Great Plains Regional Medical Center.
Robert H. “Bob” Olson was born on Dec. 11, 1932, in Redwood County, Minn., to Minnie and Leonard Olson. He was the fourth of nine children living on the family farm on the banks of Plum Creek, near Walnut Grove. Bob graduated from Walnut Grove High and joined the U.S. Army in 1953. He was stationed in Germany, assisting with post-war reconstruction where he became skilled in radio electronics. After his discharge in 1955, he continued his education at the North Dakota Auto Mechanic School, and later radio communication, attending night school in St. Paul.
He met his future wife, 21-year-old Alice Nelson, at a Marshall, Minn., community dance in the summer of 1955. Alice was a nursing student at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minneapolis. They married in August 1957, living in St. Paul for nearly two years where their first child, Janice, was born. Bob was working at a radio station, then got a job at a television station in Reliance, S.D. Three more children, Donna, Jim and Mike, soon followed.
In 1965, Bob and Alice moved the family to Holdrege, where he worked at the Nebraska Public Television station. They later moved to Winside, where he continued his career in public TV broadcasting and attended Wayne State College for additional training. Bob and Alice moved the family to North Platte in 1971 so he could take a position at one of the state’s newest public TV transmitter sites at the time, KPNE channel 9, located south of Sutherland. Bob was promoted to supervisor of KPNE a few years after taking the job and was responsible for managing the small staff of broadcast engineers, as well as maintaining and upgrading the transmitter and associated electronic equipment. After more than 35 years of service to NETV, he retired in 2000.
Bob had a mechanically inventive mind, always experimenting and trying to improve on all sorts of his own designs. One of those experiments – affixing leeboards and a mast to a rowboat – led to his interest in sailing. Bob had a wide interest in athletic activities including snow skiing, sailing and tennis, winning shelves full of trophies as a result of his competitive nature. Bob’s thriftiness and inventiveness allowed him to create many useful contraptions and gadgets for use with his sailboats, trailers and cars, often built from little more than a pile of scrap and some nuts and bolts.
He was a longstanding member of the American Legion, Ogallala Yacht Club and the German American Club. Bob was a member of the Messiah Lutheran Church since moving to North Platte in 1971.
He is preceded in death by parents, Leonard and Minnie Olson; and siblings Everett, Galen and Genevieve (Minor).
Bob is survived by his wife, Alice; his children, Janice, Donna, Jim and Mike; and siblings, Grace (Shattuck), Bonnie (Pomerencke), Edmund, Larry and Dale.
Memorials are suggested to The ALS Association Development Department, 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 250, Calabasas Hills, CA 91301, or to donor’s choice. Online condolences may be shared at carpenter
Services will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at the Messiah Lutheran Church. Cremation was chosen. Those wishing to sign the memorial book may do so from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, June 3, through Wednesday, June 5, at Carpenter Memorial Chapel, which is in charge of arrangements.