Cover photo for Laura Olsen's Obituary
Laura Olsen Profile Photo

Laura Olsen

January 14, 1955 — June 21, 2017

Laura Olsen

Obituary for Laura Margaret Olsen (Hansen)

Laura M. Olsen, 62, of Marne, Iowa, died on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at home with her family at her side.

Laura Margaret Hansen was born to Herbert Wayne and Harriet Louise (Christensen) Hansen, January 14, 1955, in Omaha, Nebraska. Laura grew up surrounded by sisters, in a home filled with a love of music. She graduated from Wayne State College with a Bachelor’s in Music Education in 1977. She performed in summer theater productions such as “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Oklahoma” with the Nettle Creek Players in Indiana. Her first teaching job was in Falls City, Nebraska for three years. She was united in marriage to Steve Olsen 36 years ago on June 6, 1981, in Omaha, Nebraska, at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. She transitioned from city girl to farm wife when they made Cass County, Iowa, their home. Laura taught K-12 Music in Anita until the birth of their daughter, Emily. While teaching in Anita, Laura introduced an annual dinner theater that continues to this day.

Laura especially loved working with children and was delighted as her own family grew. Laura and Steve homeschooled their five children, fostering curiosity and self-sufficiency by encouraging them to learn through experience and discovery. She taught music to other homeschooled families as well.

Laura inspired others as an energetic 4-H leader for more than 15 years. Her family relished the excitement of working on projects and raising livestock in preparation for the Cass County Fair. Laura could always be found with a cooler in tow, feeding and refreshing anyone within reach.

A natural hostess, Laura cared sincerely about the comfort of guests in the Olsen home and at their table, welcoming visitors with home-baked breads and cookies, sending them on their way with a jar of her famous strawberry jam. As her children grew older, Laura extended her gift of hospitality by working as a waitress at the Danish Inn in Elk Horn and the Feedlot in Atlantic, where she enjoyed the bustle of the kitchen and serving guests. For the past five years, Laura was a much loved teacher at Little Lambs Preschool, where she again prioritized giving children hands-on learning with everything from gardening and small building projects to baking bread, playing musical instruments and developing people skills.

The lessons Laura taught to the preschool children flowed naturally from her personal life. She and Steve loved to raise the family’s own food, including hogs for meat and strawberries for pies, especially savoring the first early potatoes and garden produce. Family celebrations were her delight, especially dancing around the tree on Christmas Eve with the Hansens.

Laura made sure that her family never lacked for adventure! They went on many camping trips in Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. Tenting far off the beaten path and “close to a good stream” made these vacations a highlight of the summer.

Laura was a shining light and a beloved child of God, a “precious jewel, His loved and His own.” She was baptized and confirmed at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Her faith was central to the way she lived her life and raised her family. She was a member and choir director of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, directing a number of cantatas and teaching Sunday school. Her service and leadership were honored by Church Women United when she was presented with the “Valiant Lady” award in 1993. In 1998 the Olsen family joined Elk Horn Lutheran Church where Laura was active with the Women of the Church. She shared her many gifts by teaching Sunday school and music, and by playing the organ and piano.

Laura will be remembered for her contagious laughter, her generous spirit, and her joyful, nurturing life-view. Many lives have been enriched by loving and being loved by Laura. She is survived by her husband, Steve; daughter, Emily; sons, Chris (Lindsey), Dan (Jessica), Tim (Megan) and Nick (Kristin); grandchildren, Abby, Evelyn, Lane and Emery; and her beloved sisters, Candy (Cliff) Chamberlin, Ellen (Bruce) Miller and Nancy (Joe) Eagen, and their families; and Steve’s siblings, Gary (Linda) Olsen, Carol Swenson and Keith (Barb) Olsen, and their families.

She was preceded in death by her parents and parents-in-law.

Visitation with the family will be 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday, June 23, 2017, at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 24, 2017, at the Elk Horn Lutheran Church, with Reverend Keith Menter officiating. Burial will be in the Elk Horn Lutheran Cemetery.

Memorials will be directed to the Elk Horn Lutheran Church and the Atlantic Public Library.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Laura's family and her arrangements. Condolences may be left at

Laura M. Olsen

June 21, 2017 ~ Marne, Iowa
At the age of 62 years


Saturday, June 24, Ten o’clock a.m.
Elk Horn Lutheran Church ~ Elk Horn, Iowa

OFFICIATING Reverend Keith Menter

ORGANIST Janell Hansen


Processional Hymn ~ “This is My Father’s World” #554



Psalm 23

Psalm Hymn ~ “Have No Fear Little Flock” #476

Obituary ~ Allison Berryhill

Words of Remembrance

Scripture ~ 2 Timothy 4: 5-8, Romans 5: 1-5,
Matthew 5: 14-16


Hymn ~ “Our Father Has Light in His Window”




Recessional Hymn ~ “Because He Lives”

Dave Kassel
Sam Spellman
Dave Glasnapp
Ken Burkhart
John Magill
Bill Eidam

Elk Horn Lutheran Cemetery ~ Elk Horn, Iowa

The Olsens thank everyone for the outpouring of
love, support, care and food. They invite you to join them for
lunch in the fellowship hall following the committal service.

The family has suggested that
Memorials may be made to Elk Horn
Lutheran Church or Atlantic Public Library.

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

Past Services


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Service Information

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Interment Location

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Reception Information

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.


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