Gladys Carolina Olson

By on July 17, 2014

Gladys Carolina Olson, 95, passed away peacefully at Michaelson Health Center on July 11, 2014, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family. Gladys was born on Aug. 18, 1918, to loving parents Oscar and Ida Bowgren in Owego, New York.

As a young girl, her family moved back to Wasco. Gladys graduated from St. Charles High School in 1935. She grew up as the only daughter amongst six brothers. She grew up not too interested in dolls but did play a lot of baseball. Her family didn’t have electricity or running water while she was growing up, but they made it work.

Gladys found love in 1939, when John Olson stole her heart. They knew each other while growing up in Wasco. He won her love with his humor. They were married at the family home in Wasco on Sept. 16, 1939. Gladys and John were active members of the Grace Lutheran Church. Gladys was a Sunday School teacher and a member of the choir.

Gladys really wanted to go to nursing school after high school, but due to the Great Depression she was never able to do it. She kept her dream alive, and at age 49 she took a job as a nurse’s assistant at Geneva Community Hospital. Gladys and John in 1972 moved to Mountain Home, Ark., where she resumed her career as a nurse’s assistant for three more years.

In 1995, John passed away and Gladys moved back to Illinois. She worked as a bookkeeper for Operadio in St. Charles and Bergland & Company in Wasco for many years.

Gladys was taught to crochet by her mother, and it was a favorite hobby of hers for many years. Gladys also enjoyed knitting—a skill she learned in 4H club.

Gladys was a gifted piano and organ player. It wasn’t a party at the Bowgren’s family get-togethers unless Aunt Gladys was playing the piano while everyone joined in and sang. She was a lover of animals, always having a pet cat, and feeding the birds.

Gladys was never blessed with children of her own, but she cherished her 22 nieces and nephews, and countless great-nieces and great-nephews. She enjoyed sending birthday and anniversary cards well into her 90s.

Gladys has gone home to Jesus and will remain in our hearts and memories!

Gladys is survived by 22 nieces and nephews, and many great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, John; her parents, Oscar and Ida Bowgren; six brothers, Verner (Grace), Gordon (Bernice), Stanley (Nina), Clifton (Jewel), Hilton (Margaret and Ann), Charles “Babe” (Elizabeth and Mary).

Visitation was held Wednesday at Grace Lutheran Church of Lily Lake. Funeral service followed at Grace Lutheran Church in St. Charles. Burial was held at Garfield Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Gladys’ name to benefit Grace Lutheran Church of Lily Lake. Checks may be made to the Grace Lutheran Church of Lily Lake and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at