The family of Lelia Katherine Olson give thanks for the blessings of her life and with sorrow share the news of her death. Lelia died on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at the Monmouth Nursing Home.
Lelia had been a life long resident of the region and had moved to Monmouth in recent years from their family farm in Seaton. She was the daughter of Ora and Minnie Melton and was born December 12, 1918, in Ohio Grove Township, Mercer County, Illinois.
She graduated from Duck Creek Country School, Little York High School in 1935 and from Keithsburg High School in 1936. She attended Western Illinois University and later graduated from Monmouth College.
Lelia married Fred Olson of Seaton on December 29, 1944. They farmed and raised three children: Peggy O. Anderson, married to Evan Anderson of College Station, Texas; Nancy K. Miller, married to Don Miller (deceased) of Buffalo Grove, Illinois; and David Olson of Seaton. Her husband Fred died in 1998. She is survived by her children, five grandchildren: Elizabeth Anderson Thompson, Raleigh, North Carolina; Tyler Anderson, Richmond, Virginia; Scott Miller, Beloit, Wisconsin; Amanda Miller Garvin, Gurnee, Illinois; Lindsey Miller, Buffalo Grove, Illinois; a great grandson, Evan Thompson, Raleigh, North Carolina; and two step-grandchildren: John Etter, Sikeston, Missouri and Angela Etter, Milan, Illinois.
Lelia was the second oldest of seven children. She was preceded in death by her husband, infant son, her parents, three brothers: Murl, Herbert (Dutch) and Jerry and one sister, Dorothy Miller. She is survived by two sisters: Mary Lincoln (Monmouth) and Sarah Burns (Monmouth).
Lelia served as an elementary teacher and taught several generations of students for approximately thirty years, six of which were in one room country schools (Smith School near Oquawka; Iveydor, Warren County; and Duck Creek School, Mercer County). She was a member of the teaching staff at Seaton Elementary School, 1957-1981.
During her life she was an active member of numerous community and professional organizations such as: Retired Teachers of Mercer County, the Historical Society of Henderson County, Monmouth Hospital Auxillary, United Methodist Women, the Crimson Clan of Monmouth College, the Little York Women’s Club and the Senior Citizens of Little York. She had served on the Henderson County Board of Womens’ Extension and the Cancer Board of Henderson County.
In addition to keeping a daily diary that was a reference of family and community events, Lelia enjoyed numerous hobbies such as traveling, quilting, compiling scrap books, and climbing the bluff.
She and her husband, Fred, were very active members of the 1st Armored Division auxiliary and had attended over fifty annual reunions including trips to World War II battle sites of the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division.
Services to celebrate Lelia’s life will be on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 12:00 Noon at the First Christian Church, Keithsburg. Visitation will be on Friday from 4 to 8 PM at Speer Funeral Home, Aledo. Private family burial will be at a later date in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Keithsburg.