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Ivy Olson

Ivy Terttie Olson was born the only child to Finnish immigrants in Kinney, Minnesota. The year was 1917 and her parents ran a small general store in town. They had immigrated to America around the turn of the century and found a natural home in the blustery winters of Northern Minnesota. At 3 years of age, the Olson's moved from Kinney to Palo, Minnesota to buy a farm and tend the land. Ivy spent her early years helping wherever she could, raising dairy cows and chickens, and growing grain. She even learned to snare rabbits. Her parents only spoke Finnish and so Ivy learned her beloved, native tongue at her mother's knee and didn't begin to speak English until she attended school.

Ivy was an assiduous student who developed a love for books and reading in her early years; this appreciation of books and learning stayed with her for her entire life. From her years on the farm, Ivy learned to be careful, industrious and diligent in her work ethic. These traits stayed with her for the remainder of her life. She also learned to enjoy life especially when her family built a sauna on Lake Loon. Her cousin recalls the joy of running from a hot, steamy sauna into a cool, refreshing lake during the summertime. In 1937, Ivy moved to Wheaton Illinois to attend College. After graduating she returned home for a while and soon attended the University of Minnesota where she perused a Bachelor's of Science degree in Library Science and graduated in 1941. From there she began to employ her skills as a librarian and a teacher at Silver Lake High School. She eventually returned to Wheaton College as a research librarian in 1943.

Ivy was a dedicated worker. She excelled in her field. She worked in the library for 39 years and served in a number of capacities including Head of Public Services and Acting Librarian on two occasions. Even after she retired she continued to work in the library as a volunteer well into her eighties. In 1952 Ivy was in charge of moving the library from Blanchard Hall to the Nicholas library. She organized a human chain to move more than 95,000 books from Blanchard's Fischer Library to the new Nicholas library. As you would expect from Ivy she knew just about where every book was in that library. In 1975 she again helped in the design and layout of Buswell Library. Ivy knew that library back and forth and loved her time there. She was always helpful, always supportive, always knowledgeable. She was also always there. Though Ivy was entitled to a Sabbatical leave she never wanted to go. And over the course of four decades only went once for a time down to Columbia College to help in their library. Ivy was recognized as an excellent Librarian. In 1959 she helped establish the Association of Christian Librarians and was its inaugural president. In 1986 she received the Emily Russell award from the ACL in Recognition of her outstanding contribution to Christian Librarianship. Ivy loved her work and she worked with all her heart. She also loved the people she worked with and she was much loved by her coworkers and by the students.

Ivy was also a loving daughter. Shortly after moving to Wheaton, Ivy had her parents move here from Minnesota so she could care for them. Her father soon passed away and so it was Ivy and her mother who shared the house on Cherry Avenue. She was a kind neighbor and many tell of her warm greetings and gracious invitations to join her at College Church. Ivy enjoyed those years with her mother especially when they would get to spend time at the Morton Arboretum and Ginko's Restaurant. Ivy lovingly cared for her mother until she went home to be with the Lord.

Ivy also loved the church. She was a member for more than 50 years and served in a variety of capacities. She taught First grade for a number of years and loved being around the children. She also loved missions and missionaries and was a faithful member of the Phoebe Missionary Circle for more than 40 years.

Ivy was a faithful prayer warrior. She prayed for our missionaries, for her pastors and for her leaders. In fact she kept a list of all the key government leaders with assigned days for prayer in her bible.

Ivy was also a diligent student of God's word. She loved the Bible and enjoyed for many years the teaching of Earle Cairns and Bob Huff in the Bereans class.

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