Newton Now Obituaries: Erwin Theodore Olson

Erwin Theodore Olson, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and physician, died Sunday, April 9, 2017, at Wesley Medical Center.

Erwin was born Nov. 12, 1919, in Lindsborg. Initially working as a chemist during World War II, he was trained as a physician at the University of Kansas Medical School in the Navy and served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force during the Korean War. He came to Newton in 1954, first as a general practitioner and, after additional training, as Newton’s first pediatrician. He was in practice at the Bethel Clinic for 40 years. There is hardly a family in the area that did not benefit from Erwin’s wisdom and healing. Always an advocate for children’s health, Dr. Olson actively participated in the Kansas branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics, including the presidency in 1979-1982. After retirement, he volunteered with Newton Health Ministries, traveled, golfed, gardened, skied, and greatly enjoyed well-earned leisure time with his family and grandchildren.

In 1968, Erwin and his wife Gertrude turned a great tragedy into a loving legacy after their son, Charles, died in an accident. He was a talented musician who expressed a desire for all music students who wished to be able to have private lessons. His parents recognized this passion by establishing the Charles Olson Instrumental Music Scholarship Fund. To date, the fund has supported scholarships for hundreds of music students at Newton High School.

Erwin is survived by Gertrude, his wife of 75 years, Brenda Covert (Tom Covert), Kent Olson (Cornelia Krahn), four grandchildren, Brian Covert (Nenita Covert), Jill Koshiol, Katherine Olson (Jason Rogers) and Andrew Olson (Emily Hedges), and great-grandson, Jack Rogers.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at the Newton Salem United Methodist Church.

Memorials may be made to the Charles Olson Memorial Music Scholarship Fund. Petersen Funeral Home in Newton is in charge of arrangements.