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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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February 3, 2023

12/2/2022 5:29:00 AM
Kay Frances Olson

On the morning of Friday, November 18, 2022, at the age of 76, Kay passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side.

Kay Frances (Swistak) Olson was born in Cook County, Illinois on April 28, 1946, to Peter and Thelma (Day) Swistak. At the age of two, the family moved north to Rhinelander. Kay graduated from Rhinelander Union High School in 1964 and the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh in 1968. She renewed her acquaintance with Wayne Olson when she returned to teach in Rhinelander. They were married May 31, 1969. The couple moved to Green Bay where she taught school for several years before returning to Rhinelander for Wayne to do his apprenticeship in barbering. After subbing for a couple years, Kay started a home day care. When her kids were school age, Kay started working for Camp Fire. She was program director and then became executive director, serving 18 years in the program. She then began doing homebound teaching while still with Camp Fire, finally retiring from teaching after 14 years.

Kay enjoyed playing bells with the First United Methodist Church bell choir. She also taught Sunday School, Confirmation, and was involved with the church finance committee, and other church missions.

Her family was the most important thing in her life, cherishing every moment she spent with them. She attended all her kids and grandkids' activities and was a Camp Fire Leader for both April and Brent's clubs, having the opportunity to do many interesting adventures with them both. Although her kids and grandkids were the center of her world, she also treasured laughing with her niece, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. Kay enjoyed making crafts as much as she enjoyed giving them away. Having always enjoyed cooking, sharing the skill with her grandchildren was a special blessing. She also loved playing games of any kind, especially card games. A love she inherited from her mother.

Kay is survived by her husband, Wayne, daughter, April (Rob) Denis, son, Brent Olson, grandsons, Shawn Denis and Paul Denis, all of Rhinelander, and niece, Stacey Willis, Osceola, as well as a sister-in-law, Diane Olson and other nieces and nephews.

Kay was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Lucille (Swistak) Willis.

The Olson family would like to extend a special thank you to all the hospice caregivers for there kindness, compassion, and their comfort for Kay and for the family.

A Celebration of Kay's Life will be held in the Spring of 2023.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hildebrand Funeral Home & Cremation Specialists, 24 E. Davenport Street, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 54501, 715-365-4343. Everyone is invited to sign the guestbook or leave an online condolence at

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2022
Article comment by: John FEASE

Brent and family, I was saddened by the news of your mom's passing. Both of your parents were such loyal fans of the swim team, and I know they were, and are, so proud of you. I'm grateful for having been a part of your life, and have wonderful memories of those times. I'm always happy to see you continuing to be a part of Rhinelander Swimming. May you find peace through recalling and embracing such memories, as well as continuing to live the life your mom helped to shape. Peace, my friend.

Posted: Sunday, December 11, 2022
Article comment by: Ellie Taegr

Kay will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Her high school classmates so benefited from her dedication and knowledge of where and how everyone was doing. I admired her for all of her accomplishments.
Sincere condolences
Bing and Ellie Taege

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