Catherine Elizabeth Olson
Catherine Elizabeth Olson. Cathy Charrier, Cathy Olson, Tooter to some and just Olson to one beloved granddaughter, died of one too many things going wrong on Jan. 12 in Blue Earth UHD. Born in Kiester, MN on July 29, 1940, to Harry and Helena Obermeyer, Cathy had two older brothers Wayne and Owen, but it was no secret that she held a very special place for her little brother Gus. When he passed she was never really okay.
As a girl she cooked for the farmhands, and I’ll tell you that must have been a great training ground because we ate good food growing up. When she started school right at the end of WWII she only spoke German (can you imagine?).
After graduation, big brother Wayne picked her up and she moved to the Cities where she lived with him, his wife Mary Ann, and her nieces Cindy, baby Julie and eventually Peter and Paul for six years until she met our dad, Charles Charrier, while working in a pizza parlor. Dad proposed at the Lexington in St. Paul and it was the first time she ever had a baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives – she thought it was absolutely gourmet. She would tell me that story many times …and until I moved to college, I had no idea there was any other way to eat a baked potato. They married in 1964.
A year later baby Andy made the family official. When he was a “little guy,” dad thought mom needed a project (men!) and put an ad in the paper for homemade Christmas cookies. Dozen cookies for 50 cents and delivery for another 50 cents. I’m not sure he consulted mom first. Using the recipes from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book, mom got busy baking. That year mom made one THOUSAND DOZEN cookies, while Andy busied himself in a playpen. Here’s the kicker, she did it by hand – no mixer. Just a wooden spoon and deadlines. Oh, and a baby on the side. Cookie money put new tires on the car, dad and Andy each got presents from Santa, and mom got a Popeye-sized bicep.
Mom delivered twin boys a few years later that didn’t survive. She was always stoic about it, but we know now that kind of trauma doesn’t just go away. She will be buried near her baby boys.
In 1971 the delivery room was filled with mom shouting “It’s a girl! It’s a girl!” as I, Anner, joined the family. The four of us and many a you-name-it-we-had-it-for-a-pet settled in Cedar, MN for a long while. Mom worked a not-fun job as a gas station manager for the entire time I was in school, working 6 ½ days a week (no joke – half day on Sunday). Eventually, Andy and I would grow up and work in the station as well, along with our friends. Her wage paid for the delicious meals she cooked and financed all of our extra kid activities. For Andy it was non-stop debate and speech tournaments and camps. For me it was endless arts, crafts, and music classes.
After 23 years mom and dad separated, and my memory of this is that it was about time! It was only a minute before both would remarry and seemed happier. Mom married Johnny Olson. They made a life together in Mora, MN for a number of years before returning to Bricelyn, MN so mom could care for her parents and then Johnny as each passed away.
In October mom reached 43 years of sobriety which is ah-mazing! She was pretty hush-hush about AA, taking the “anonymous” part seriously, but some of you have told me that she made a big difference for young people in rehab and that she helped keep an AA group going for a long time too. We’re proud of her. This is a really big deal: Forty. Three. Years.
She is survived by her kids: son, Andrew Charles Charrier (Andy), his wife Susan Clark and granddaughter Dr. Anika Catherine Clark – yes, a doctor y’all, and mom could not have been prouder of her; daughter Andrea Catherine Charrier (Anner) and her husband Aaron Barr; her very special niece Cindy, who was there at the end just as the two had planned (they were always in cahoots – well done, ladies); other nieces and nephews; Wayne and Mary Ann Obermeyer’s kids: Julie & Bob, Amy & Perry, Peter & Trudy, Paul & Susan, Danny & Pam; Owen and Lorraine Obermeyer’s kids: Verlie & Wayne, Dean & Alice, Karen & Tim; Gus and Sandy Obermeyer’s kids: Heidi, Jason & Diane, Adam & Emily; sisters-in-law, Lorraine & Sandy; brother/sister-in-law Dan and Mae Olson and many others in the Olson family. Family from her marriage to Johnny includes stepsons John Jr, Jimmy, Jay and grandson Troy, and niece Kathy Haglund. John Jr and Kathy were constant support to us through these final months. We have gratitude for life-long friend Mary K, Sue P and Barb P and all the fun they brought mom over the years. I send love and thanks to BFF Heidi Ho who always treated my mama like her own; I will do the same for you when the time comes (warn your mom). And we do not have words to express our gratitude for MaryEllen — for the many laughs along with straight talk she shared, the love she gave to up-lift our mom, and her phenomenal assistance during the final months.
Mom was preceded by so many and this was really hard for her. Her parents Harry and Helena, and brothers Wayne, Owen and Eugene (Gus). Husbands Charles Leon Charrier and John Earnest Olson. All her cousins, aunts, uncles and many friends. She is the last of her generation.
A small (read: very short, freezing cold) graveside service will be held Sunday, January 22 at 1:00pm at Our Savior’s Lutheran Cemetery in Kiester, MN. A much warmer reception (cake!) will follow at St. Luke’s Care Center East Parlor Room in Blue Earth at approximately 2:30-3:30PM. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, we appreciate donations to UHD Hospice. Nasinec Funeral Home in Wells is entrusted with arrangements. Please see www.nasinecfh.com to leave online condolences.
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