Ellis Norman OlsonNovember 8, 1938 ~ December 4, 2017 (age 79)
Ellis Norman Olson, 79 of Cheboygan, passed away at home surrounded by his loving family on Monday, December 4, 2017.
Born in Rochester, Minnesota on November 8, 1938, Ellis was the son of Harold and Viola (Finley) Olson. In 1943 the family moved to Michigan. He graduated from high school in 1956.
A teacher for 40years, he began teaching at age 18 in country schools. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University and also held a Lifetime Teaching Certificate. Ellis taught for many years at Cheboygan Public Schools as an elementary teacher and he taught remedial subjects, later adopted by title I.
Teaching was only a part of Ellis’ many accomplishments. He worked as a professional cook/caterer for 16 years, a licensed builder for 14 years and for eight years he owned and operated a convalescent home. He was also an American Red Cross first aid instructor for 10 years.
Ellis served on the Cheboygan City Council for 16 years and served five terms as Cheboygan City Mayor. During his tenure in city government, Ellis was involved in the reconstruction of the Cheboygan City Hall-Opera House, the wastewater treatment plant, the complete restoration of the city water system, the repaving of every asphalt road in the city of Cheboygan, the installation of a new street lighting system, the rebuilding of the recreation department and the addition of five new city parks, the construction of a new city garage, the balancing of the city treasury for the first time in 25 years, the construction of a large new cemetery area, the transformation of Cheboygan’s hand entry bookkeeping to a computer system, reorganizing of the Public Safety department, the construction of three ball diamonds, the restoration of the Cheboygan City Beach and the negotiation of five city union contracts. Also during his tenure, the city of Cheboygan secured more federal grants per capita in an 18 month period than any other city in the United States. He was Cheboygan Pine Hill Cemetery Sexton and maintenance contractor for 18years.
Ellis was responsible for or instrumental in many area projects including organizing Cheboygan’s first museum in 1969, organizing Cheboygan’s first historical society in 1972, the rediscovery of Historic Mill Creek State Park in 1972 and the organization of Cheboygan’s first County Ambulance Service where he also served as chairman.
He was a State President of Michigan Sons of the American Revolution (MI SSAR), in 2001 he received the Gov. John B. Swainson award, he was a 2016 recipient of the State Historical Lifetime Achievement award and he was honored by the City of Cheboygan proclamation naming November 4, 2017 “Ellis Olson Day”.
Ellis had authored numerous books about the history of Cheboygan and the surrounding area. He also enjoyed camping, fishing, nature, turtle hunting and riding on the Alpena State Road.
He married his first wife, Mary in 1957 and she passed away in 1994. He is survived by his wife, Sandra J. Olson, whom he married on May 23, 1998.
Also surviving are his daughters, Cindy Litchard of Cheboygan, Margaret “Mugs” (Tom) Pollard of Cheboygan, Christina Helton of Centreville, VA and Melanie (Brian) Rader of Pickford; a stepdaughter, Deidra Ann Budreau of Orlando, FL; 10 grandchildren, April (Kurt) Stocker, Brittany (Mike Barrett) Litchard; Nicole Helton, Sean Helton, Ashley Helton, Andrew Helton, Melissa Helton, Kassandra (Lee) Whitson, Allison (Josh) Gordan and Mary Rader; great grandchildren, Amaya Nicole Helton, Alasia jade Holland, Azuree Rayne Helton and Anthony Gordan; a sister, Linda (Nate) Hendrix; a brother, Raymond (Emmy) Olson; a step brother, David Olson and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and his first wife, Mary, Ellis was preceded in death by a daughter, Susan Olson; a stepdaughter, LeeAnn Marie Budreau; a sister, Linda Landrie, step brothers, Duane Olson, Robert “Cheezy” Landrie, and Bobby Landrie.
Visitation will be held from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM Friday, December 8, 2017 at St. Mary/St. Charles Catholic Church where a Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 1:00 PM. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery. Those who wish are asked to consider memorial contributions to Hospice of Michigan.
Arrangements are by Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service. Please share your memories and personal messages with the family at www.gaylordfuneralhome.com