Harry W. Olson: A Great Cowboy Who Will Be Missed


Today we have a special funeral announcement for one of the best stockmen Northern Montana has ever known. Harry W. Olson of Chinook, Montana passed away peacefully at the age of 89 with family at his side on January 14th after a short battle with congestive heart failure. He ranched his entire life in the Bear Paw Mountains and Milk River Valley and his O lazy H brand was a symbol as some of the best commercial black Angus cattle in America. Funeral services for Harry will be Tuesday, January 19th at the High School Auditorium in Chinook, Montana at 2 PM with reception to follow at the Chinook Eagles Club. Our thoughts and prayers go out today to the entire family of Harry Olson especially to his step-son and our Network's Russell Nemetz and his family.


Harry W. Olson, 89, passed away peacefully with family at his side on January 14, 2016 after a short battle with congestive heart failure.  A viewing will be held on Monday, January 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Edwards Funeral Home in Chinook. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Chinook High School Auditorium and a reception will be held at the Chinook Eagles following the service. Arrangements have been made with Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.

Harry was born in Havre, MT on February 11, 1926 to Fred and Martha (Solomon) Olson. His family ranched in the Bear Paw Mountains where he and his other siblings (2 brothers and 5 sisters) learned to appreciate the land and its livestock. He attended Faber School thru 6th grade then his family moved to the upper Clear Creak place where he attended the Diamond Bar School thru the 8th grade.
In the spring of 1940, the family moved to the “Home Place” on lower Clear Creek where Harry continued to ranch until he died.
As a young man, Harry and his brother Ed partnered to buy the Prunes Place. Harry then decided to buy the Delbrom Place on his own which was by the Ada School. Then in 1970, he expanded to the Milk River Valley.
He had a love for livestock and was a natural born stockman; he just knew cattle. And to this day his famous O Lazy H brand is a well-known symbol as some of the best commercial Black Angus cattle in America.
Harry also had a love for his family. He helped care for his parents with his sisters Elsa and Janet for 10 years until their passing. He also lived with Elsa and Janet for a lot of years. He was a regular family man. Harry was a father figure to his sister Elsa’s three children, Dawn, Denys and Darlene. He was also a favorite uncle to all of his nephews and nieces. Harry loved to attend all of the children’s school activities and more.
Harry was a man known for his character and integrity. He was also known for his kindness and love that he shared with everyone around him. Trust was a big attribute to Harry. Whether it was trading cattle or buying machinery, he still believed a man’s handshake was his word. He also had great trust in young people when it came to learning. He was a very patient man that allowed the younger generation a chance to learn the ranching way of life and when mistakes were made he never got angry or made them feel bad. His response would always be “just do your best that’s all you can do.”
He truly was one of the last original cowboys of the West. His hobbies were his family, his cows and his horses. Along with being the best stockman around, Harry was also one of the best horsemen around. There was nothing better to Harry then a horse sale. He loved to buy and sell horses. Some of his favorite horses thru his ranching life were “Old Jack”, “Drifter”, “Old Croppy”, “Old Blondy”, “Dude”, “Joker”, “Snoopy” and his last horse “Cherokee”.
Another special interest of Harry’s was making sure ranchers like himself and others were being properly represented. He was one of the charter members of the North Central Montana Stockgrowers Association which is still going strong today. He just loved to attend local meetings plus the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Mid-Year and Annual Convention where he was able to see old friends and meet new ones. And what a positive impression he left with everyone he met.
A bachelor his entire life, Harry married his wife Colette on May 17, 1991. And to this union came Harry’s two step-sons Russell and Chris Nemetz. He opened his heart to Colette and her boys and always treated them as if they were his own. Just as he was with his nephews and nieces, he supported them through all their activities and endeavors. Harry and Colette had a lot of fun through their almost 25 years of marriage. From family gatherings to fun trips, as long as they were together they were both having the time of their lives. He really loved Colette’s cooking. Especially, on those special occasions that included lutefisk on the menu.
Harry’s love of children continued into his later years in life when he was blessed with his grandchildren and his great-great and great-great-great nephews and nieces. He was proud of his family and he loved them all. And they loved him too.
Harry is survived by his wife Colette, step-son Russell Nemetz (Rachel) and his grandchildren Tyler and Isabelle. His step-son Chris Nemetz. Sisters Elsa Pomeroy and Janet Olson. Nieces Dawn Overcast (Ken) and Darlene Pomeroy. Great Nephews T.J. Overcast (Tara), Seth Pomeroy (Ashley), Nathan Pomeroy (Leslie). Harry also has other numerous nieces and nephews from his other brothers and sisters. Great Nieces Karleen Halingstad (Lance) and Camille Pomeroy. Plus his 21 great-great and great-great-great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents Fred and Martha Olson, his brothers Ed and Russell Olson, his sisters Marie Grant, Elizabeth Hill, Ruth Hofeldt and his infant sister Edith. He was also preceded in death by his nephew Denys Pomeroy, his great nephew Shea Pomeroy and his nephew-in-law Jack Harrington.

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