Russell Loyd Olson 1930 - 2024

With the exception of a few years in Portland, Russell (Rusty) Loyd Olson spent his childhood in McMinnville, Oregon, graduating from MHS in 1948. He married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Hartzell, on June 10, 1950. Shortly after, they moved into their first home, hand-built by Rusty, on Booth Bend Road. They lived together on the farm for 66 years.

During the early years on the farm, Rusty grew row crops: strawberries, pole beans, raspberries, cucumbers, zucchini, and corn. He also grew sugar beets, clover, ryegrass, bentgrass, and sunflowers. For three decades ('50s to '70s), Olson Farms employed hundreds of Yamhill County youth, teenagers, and teachers as farm hands. Predicting a tidal change in agriculture, Rusty was among the first farmers to plant a hazelnut orchard in the mid-1980s. He was successful in this endeavor, with many awards from Blue Diamond Growers for the highest yearly hazelnut production. Russell farmed hazelnuts for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2017.

In addition to his profession as a farmer, Rusty was very active in church life. In the '60s and '70s, Russ and Maggie were involved in the First Methodist Church of McMinnville, where they led junior high youth groups. He also served on the Board of Directors and as a weekly usher. In later years, they attended Lafayette Community Church and served on many outreach teams. Rusty played a significant role in the execution of the Lafayette Community Church Food Pantry. Russ and Maggie enjoyed traveling by motorhome and 5th-wheel camper. They frequently toured the U.S. and Canada, cataloging visits to every state and many National Parks and National Historic Sites

Russell is survived by the love of his life, Margaret; daughters, Linda McCallister and Patti Jahnke (spouse Jon); son, Jeff (spouse Tonia); 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother, Marion (1979), Elmer (1991); and brother, Norman (2023).

Please join us at 11:30 a.m.  Sunday, July 14, at the Rock of Ages Chapel, 15600 S.W. Rock of Ages Rd., McMinnville, OR 97128, as we honor and celebrate the life of Russell Olson. To leave condolences, visit


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