Ralph E. Olson passed away peacefully at home Aug. 2, 2019, in Laguna Niguel, Calif. He was born in Wenatchee, Wash., May 23, 1936, the son of Ralph Olson and Dorothy Erickson Olson. He was the eldest of three brothers and graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1954.
On Sept. 19, 1958, he married Bonnie A. Smith in the United Methodist Church of Wenatchee. Ralph graduated from the University of Washington in 1959, with a degree in Russian language and far eastern studies. As an undergraduate student, he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. During college, he was a drummer in a dance band called the Deltones and played big band inspired gigs in the Seattle area.
In 1962, Ralph obtained a Jurdis Doctoris degree from the University of Washinton School of Law and after passing the Washington State Bar examination, he was admitted to practice in 1962. Ralph first worked as an attorney in the Washington State Attorney General’s office in Olympia, Wash., before joining Dale M. Nordquist in law practice in Centralia, Wash., in 1964.
Ralph and Bonnie had two girls, Karan (Olson) Meilhan, presently living in Atlanta, Ga., and Krista Olson-Verdin, presently living in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Ralph practiced law in Centralia for over fifty years and was very active in the community. He was President of the Centralia Rotary Club, Lewis County Bar Association, Providence Centralia Hospital Foundation, Centralia College Foundation and served on the board of the Pacific Northwest Youth Orchestra, Lewis County Concerts, Charlie Albright Piano Fund and provided pro bono counsel for Lewis County Legal Aid.
In his youth, going on a cattle drive cemented Ralph’s love of riding horses and all things cowboy. Throughout his life, he continued to ride and greatly enjoyed participating in ranch-related activities. Ralph loved music performances, sailing and traveling with friends. Being on the water was a passion of his and he found great peace sailing the waters of Olympia and Puget Sound. At age 81, he fulfilled a longtime goal of sky diving, which he stated was equally exhilarating and terrifying. Ralph sang in church choirs for 50 years and he served as Choir Director for 16 years. Ralph had strong Christian beliefs and was a member of South Shores Church in Dana Point, Calif., at the time of his passing.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Norman M. Olson and wife, Bonnie A. Olson.
Ralph is survived by daughters, Karan (Pierre) Meilhan and Krista (Vince) Olson-Verdin; very special granddaughter, Sophie Meilhan; and brother, Carlton E. Olson.
Ralph lived a life of service to others and was a firm believer in the importance of making a difference in one’s community. Suggested remembrances may be made to the Salvation Army and the Centralia College Foundation.
Services will be held Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, at Bethel Church, Chehalis, Wash., at 2 p.m. Reception to follow.