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Dennis Gene OLSON, Ph.D.


Posted By: Sarah Thorson Little (email)
Date: 6/22/2022 at 17:27:26

Dennis Olson
February 17, 1947 ---- May 30, 2022

AMES - Dennis G. Olson, passed away on May 30, 2022, at Israel Family Hospice House surrounded by his loving family. A private service is planned for a later date.

Dennis earned his PhD in Animal Science from Iowa State University in 1975 after growing up on a farm in rural Thor, IA and marrying Jane [Wooster] Olson in 1968. His father was a Norwegian farmer and his mother was the most Godly, sweet woman anyone could meet. He learned a lot from the two of them as well as his siblings, Mary, John and Marcia, growing up on a farm that will be in our family for 150 years this August.

Shortly after his graduation from ISU, he entered the National Guard, serving in Boone, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Upon release, he and mom moved to Chicago for work and, a few years later, he was offered a job in Lincoln where he became a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They loved their time at UNL but, when ISU came calling in the summer of 1980, he couldn't refuse their offer as it was the opportunity to go home. Besides a 5-year stint in Omaha from 2000-2005, Ames/ISU is where they spent their life together. It is/was truly mom and dad's home and it makes sense why; they were engaged at Brookside Park and happily married for 53 years. They loved each other dearly and had fun whatever they were doing and with whoever they were spending time.

To his son, Jon, he was daddy, pop, dad or Papa. He introduced Jon to golf, baseball, soccer, football, basketball and music while helping coach teams he played on. He loved his grandchildren, Parker and Edison, an immeasurable amount. They called him TuBubba. Odds are he was the only grandfather in the world with that title and he wore it with great pride. To the kids, TuBubba meant fun, love, the lake, excitement and unexpected experiences. To his wife and his extended family, he was known simply as D, Denny or Dennis.

His mind was amazing. Not many people thought like he did. He saw things differently than others. Sometimes it was agonizingly frustrating trying to figure out his reasons and his whys but, when you'd realize where he was going with them, you'd sit back and marvel because his logic was so much better than what the common person would've come up with.

He raised tens of millions of dollars for Iowa State through grant research. He once spoke before a congressional hearing on food safety upon Capitol Hill. He traveled the world seeing so many countries that he lost count but he figured it was around 25-30; many of those countries he saw multiple times. His work took him to 6 continents. He helped develop food technology where society wouldn't have to worry about E-Coli, botulism, salmonella and other food borne pathogens that can harm or kill people. It was a great concept that came close to succeeding but, as with most good ideals, politics, policy and money just didn't allow for it. He worked on a project for NASA, helping develop food for extended time in space and for space travel to Mars. He could fix anything. He did stuff like that. He made the world a better place.

He taught how to love family and he allowed family to love him. Not all people do such things but he did.

He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother, an uncle, a great uncle, a friend, a high school state champion in track, a farmer, a scientist, a teacher and so so so much more.

In death, the greatest thing someone can do is make you miss them. He'll always do that for us and we'll eternally be grateful for it.

Love you times infinity, Papa

Memorials may be made to the family for a scholarship yet to be established.


[graduate of Eagle Grove High School - Eagle Grove, Iowa]


Wright Obituaries maintained by Sarah Thorson Little.
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