Post written by Naomi Rolandson, Music Lover| Hairdresser | Good book and a rainy day| Beautiful Scenery| Puzzle Maniac | Go Cubs Go!!
Every town has one: that person who can be found in the middle of whatever is going on. Entertaining, cooking, volunteering, planning, organizing, directing, leading, teaching….and the list goes on.
Hysham claims 96-year-old Katie (Roth) Olson, as our local gem. Katie is an extraordinary woman who has lived a full life in this small community. She was born in Billings, Montana, the 7th of 12 children.
Her family moved to a farm near Sanders (east of Hysham) when she was in upper elementary school. Katie recalls her father growing sugar beets and harvesting them with a team of horses.
She and many of her classmates were kept out of school for several weeks in the Fall to help with the process. Asked about the harvest, Katie fondly replies, “I never did learn to drive a tractor but I sure knew how to drive a team of horses!”
Katie graduated from Hysham High School in 1941. She married the love of her life, John Olson, before he left to serve in WW II. While John was gone, Katie lived with his two sisters in Bozeman and began a short career as a hairdresser.
When John returned from the war, the couple moved back to the Hysham area and farmed. A few years later, they purchased their own farm and have lived and worked there for over 65 years.
John and Katie raised five children, instilling in them a good work ethic, love for their family, community, and church.
While John was farming, Katie was busy raising a garden, canning, cooking, washing on a wringer washer and sewing clothes for the kids.
“I remember sewing late into the night because there wasn’t time during the day to get it done.”
They enjoyed going to dances and gathering with friends when time allowed.
As her family grew up, Katie began to take a more active approach to community organizations and events.
She has been a long-time member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Treasurebelles, Hysham Woman’s Club, Red Hatters, Wine and Roses Bridge Club, and Treasure County Senior Citizens.
Through her church, she has taught catechism classes and been involved in Altar Society.
Although she never felt she could serve as an officer in these organizations, with the help of one special lady giving her the encouragement she needed, Katie found her voice and began her tireless effort to improve her community.
She’s always been eager to lend a helping hand, a pan of bars, a meal, or whatever anyone might need. She’s been involved in community cleanups, style shows, community plays, improvements to the local cemetery, building the original swimming and wading pool, dinners, committees, pie sales, and so much more.
She has also been the recipient of the Hysham Chamber of Commerce “Good Citizen of the Year” award. Katie believes anything can be accomplished; you just need the right motivation…. or motivator, as the case may be.
John passed away in 2015. The farm is still productive and is managed today by their son David. Katie enjoys spending time with her children and their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She recently enjoyed an Alaskan Cruise and an outing on the “Chew Chew Train.”
Katie admits, “I can’t do the things I used to do, but I don’t want to miss out on anything!”
Alas, what would our community do without our social engineer? We are so grateful that she gathered her courage, found her voice and became a true leader. She is an inspiration to all and is a true “gem” of Treasure County.