MISSOULA - Duane Olson, the Norwegian cowboy from North Dakota, died Wednesday, June 4, 2008, at home.
Duane Olson was born in Wildrose, N.D., in 1925 to Joseph and Ruth Gilbertson Olson.
Duane enlisted in the Army Air Force from September 1943 to February 1946. He flew missions in a B-17 over Austria, Germany and Italy as a ball turret gunner. He attended Jamestown College in North Dakota and graduated from Northwestern University Dental School in 1952.
He practiced dentistry in Williston, N.D.
In 1950, Duane married Joyce Moores. They had four children, Scott Joseph, Craig Robert, Loree Rae and Neil Duane. He and Joyce Moores later divorced.
In 1969, Duane moved to Missoula and practiced dentistry in Missoula until 1994. He was president of the Second District Dental Society, a faithful member of the Missoula Kiwanis Club and Sons of Norway, and very active in the University Congregational Church in Missoula.
In 1982 he met the love of his life, Joyce Swingendorf. Together they spent 26 wonderful years on horseback, exploring the wilderness, skiing, traveling, and sharing their love of animals. Duane enjoyed living on Mount Sentinel with his wife and horses. They were both big game hunters and Duane won the permit lottery to hunt a bighorn ram in Rock Creek.
No matter how many lemons Duane was given in life, be always made lemonade. He was often called the bionic man for all the surgeries he went through. After his surgeries, Duane often visited other heart patients to offer them support. He wanted to thank all the cardiac doctors in Missoula for their care during his 26 years of living with cardiac disease.
Duane was proceeded in death by his sister Phyllis Ann Dorene Olson; and his son Scott Joseph Olson.
He is survived by his wife Joyce Swingendorf; sons Craig Robert (Teresa) Olson of Panama and Neil Duane (Gina) Olson of Missoula; his daughter Loree Rae (Brian Zottnick) Olson of Prescott, Ariz.; his stepsons William Cimino of Colorado and Michael Cimino of Seattle; his five grandchildren, Tonnes, Tori, Kristin, Nissa and Patrick; and by many great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in the fall when the new veterans cemetery opens. Memorial gifts can be sent to University Congregational Church at 405 University Ave., Missoula, 59801. Memories can be sent to Joyce Swingendorf, 4125 Snowshoe Lane 59803.