Cover photo for Mary Nichols Olsen's Obituary
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Mary Nichols Olsen

February 7, 1934 — February 8, 2023

Mary Nichols Olsen

Mary (Arentson) Nichols Olsen, 89, formerly of Atlantic, Iowa, passed away at Accura Healthcare in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.

Mary Evelyn was born to Eddie and Alice (Peterson) Arentson on February 7, 1934, at home in Shelby County, Iowa, near Harlan.  Mary joined her twin brothers, Verl and Gene and a year and a half later a sister, Joyce joined the family.

Mary attended Lincoln #4 country school for eight years and then Harlan High School, graduating in 1952.  As a youth she enjoyed 4-H and the many activities that come from growing up on the family farm.  Mary's faith was important to her.  The family attended the Bethel Baptist Church in Harlan where she gave her heart to Jesus and was baptized.

Following high school graduation Mary attended Jennie Edmundson School of Nursing at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, and graduated in 1956 with a BS degree in Nursing.  Her first job was working at the Harlan Hospital in the OB department.  Mary then worked at the Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic, Iowa from 1956 until retiring in 1999, working the night shift as a supervisor for many of those years.

On August 31, 1956, she married Richard D. Nichols from Atlantic IA, and to this union two sons were born, Gregory and Stuart Nichols.  Later, after Richard’s death, she remarried to G. Wayne Olsen and following his death, she moved to Marshalltown to be closer to her son, Gregory.

Mary was an active member of GracePoint Church in Atlantic prior to her move to Marshalltown.  She was an avid gardener.  Her sewing abilities were many and she was known by her grandkids as the grandma who sewed yearly flannel pajamas in their growing up years.  The grandkids always had plenty of cookies when visiting and instead of graduation cake they requested Grandma's special sugar cookies.  Cooking for and being with family was always a blessing for her.

Mary was at Accura Health Care for several years and was known for her encouragement and being welcoming to others.  One resident said, “She was the nicest person I ever knew!” and another resident talked about how much she knew the Bible.  She will be missed! 

Surviving Mary are her son, Greg (Marilee) Nichols; her grandchildren, Paul (Jona) Nichols, Brent (Laura) Nichols, Timothy (Sara) Nichols, Melody (Michael) Miller, Chad (Rachel) Nichols, and Heather (Thomas) Watson, and she was also blessed with 15 great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by her step-children, Steve Olsen, Gary (Linda) Olsen, Carol (Olsen) Swenson, Keith (Barb) Olsen and their families; and her brother, Gene Arentson.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Eddie and Alice Arentson; parents-in-law, Ralph and Cora Nichols; her husbands, Richard D. Nichols and G. Wayne Olsen; son, Stuart Nichols; brother and sister-in-law, Verl and Marie Arentson; sister, Joyce Christensen; sister-in-law, Darlene Arentson; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Fletcher and Avonelle Nichols, Ted and Dorothy Nichols, Norman and Mary Fulton and Shirley Enright; and step-daughter-in-law, Laura Olsen.

The family would like to say thank you to Accura Health Care and Iowa River Hospice for caring for Mary.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 25, 2023, at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic, with Pastor Don McLean of GracePoint Church officiating.  Burial will be in the Atlantic Cemetery. Visitation with the family present will be held prior to the service at the funeral home beginning at 9:30 a.m., Saturday.

The service will be recorded and available on the funeral home website by noon on Sunday.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be designated to GracePoint Church in Atlantic, Iowa, to be designated to missions.  

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Mary’s family and her arrangements.  Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Nichols Olsen, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, February 25, 2023

9:30 - 11:00 am

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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