Peggy Ann Olson, 74

Peggy Ann Olson, 74, of New Prague, MN died peacefully on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 surrounded by beloved family and caregivers, thus ending a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  She is survived by her loving husband, Jim, of 53 years; children, Josh (Michelle) Olson of Jacksonville, FL, Luana (Mark) Ciccarelli and granddaughter Madeline of St. Paul, MN;  brothers, Richard (Anita) Zumwalt of Phoenix, AZ, and Donald Zumwalt of Springfield, IL;  niece, Andrea Windish of Phoenix, AZ; nephews, Ron & Dave Zumwalt of Springfield, IL.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Opal Zumwalt of Hannibal, MO.

Peggy was born on February 25, 1947, in Hannibal, MO where she lived until her high school graduation in 1965. While in nursing school, Peggy met James Alan Olson on a blind date in 1966 while he was enlisted in the Air Force. They were married on May 18, 1968, at East Zion Lutheran church of rural Starbuck, MN. They have loved each other with complete devotion & dedication and been partners in all of life.  Peggy’s long struggle with dementia only brought them closer & deeper in love. Jim’s deepest fulfillment in life was caring for Peggy in every way. 

Peggy received her RN nursing degree at St. Anthony School of Nursing of Rock Island, IL in May 1968. After working as a surgical scrub nurse at Fairview Hospital for 2 years she received additional education at St. Mary’s School of Anesthesia in Minneapolis and earned her Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) degree in July 1972.  She advanced quickly through her career in the Fairview Hospital system.  She loved her career and served as a leader in the formation of an independent anesthesia group paving the way for her colleagues.  She was devoted to the care of her surgical patients as she administered anesthesia with such high standards for their comfort up to her retirement in 2008.

She had many hobbies; most notably she was an avid quilter. Her closets were piled high with fabrics as she was always working on a new quilt to give to a family member, friend or neighbor. When she found a new passion, she threw herself into it with gusto and determination, especially as a fan of the MN Timberwolves. Peggy was known by the players on a first name basis as she baked specially prepared cookies for several of them.  Peggy and Jim’s time together at the games were very special.  Peggy loved and cared for birds her entire life, finding a particular fondness for treating injured birds at the MN Raptor Center volunteering her nursing skills caring for owls, hawks, and eagles on Saturday afternoons.

Peggy will be missed so deeply by her husband, family, friends, neighbors, and anyone of her acquaintance.  A very special word of thanks and heartfelt love to her caregivers at Brookdale Memory Care of West St. Paul, who gave her dignity, respect, care and love from March 4, 2016, to the time of her death.  They created a new home for Peggy and were her true family every day.  Peggy loved each and every one of them with all her heart.

Peggy’s celebration of her life and of Our Lord’s gift of eternal life will be held on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 11:00 AM at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.  (4396 41st St. W.  Webster, MN) with Pastor Donovan Riley officiating.

Visitation will begin at 9:30 AM preceding the service at the church.  Coffee with a light lunch will be served immediately following the service.  Committal service and burial will be at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Preston, MN on Tuesday, November 2nd at 10:00 AM.  Serving as pallbearers will be Vang Xiong, Jean de Dieu, Jim Westall, Rick Allen, Doug Fuchs, Owen Riley, and Justin Will.



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