Published On: Wed, Feb 1st, 2017

These Valentines have been going strong for 69 years

LAUREL — Valentine’s Day is a day about relationships and one Cedar County couple knows a thing or two about relationships

Glen and Janet Olson, who now make their home in Laurel, have definitely had their share of Valentine Days together. The couple will be married 69 years this coming June.

“We are so fortunate to still have each other after all these years,” Glen said.

The couple had planned on doing something special this year to celebrate the many years they have been together, along with the good report Glen had recently received from the doctor.

“We thought about celebrating, but we really don’t know what we want to do,” Janet said.

When their children were still living at home, Janet would make special treats for the family to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“I would make heart shaped cakes or make heart shapes from some other food,” she said.

“She is a good cook,” Glen said.

Glen and Janet were married June 6, 1948, at the Omaha Gospel Tabernacle.

Rev. R.R. Brown, a pioneer in Christian broadcasting, who was known for his gifted speaking, passion for music and good-humored joking, performed the ceremony.

“We were married in the Chapel. We just had a small wedding,” Janet said.

Their honeymoon included a trip to Lincoln where they took in a baseball game and watched Glen’s cousin play ball.

Then it was time to get back to the farm.

At the time of their marriage, Glen was farming with his Dad who was dealing with health issues.

“We moved on to my brother’s place. Later on, we bought a farm,” Glen said.

Glen had grown up on a farm near the intersection of Hwy. 84/15, which is approximately eight miles east of Hartington and 12 miles north of Laurel.

Glen, who thought he was a confirmed bachelor at the time, met his future wife, Janet Domina, at a neighborhood country dance.

“Janet and I were living only four or five miles apart when we met,” Glen said. “I was friends with her brother, Marvin Domina.”

Glen and Janet went together close to four years before their wedding day.

Memories of their courtship included a lot of roller skating.

The couple also shared a memory of their first year of marriage in 1948.

“It was 1948. Because of the blizzard and all the snow, the only way for us to get to Hartington was by a team of horses and a wagon,” Glen said.

Hwy. 84 was closed for at least six weeks, according to Janet.

The couple was in agreement when asked for some advice on marriage.

“Be faithful to each other,” Glen said. “For us, being involved in a church was also important.”

“I agree with that,” Janet said. “All of our kids and grandchildren are active in a church. That is a big satisfaction for me.”

When Glen was growing up, his family had attended the Congregational Church in Hartington. Glen and Janet continued to attend the Congregational Church after their marriage. They were active church members and each one served on the church board. After their retirement, the couple moved into Laurel and became active members of Laurel’s United Presbyterian Church.

“We farmed until 1995. When we retired and moved into Laurel, our son, Gordon, moved onto the farm,” Glen said.

The family farm, which was a general crop and livestock operation, had been important to both Glen and Janet.

Janet worked alongside her husband on the farm, helping with some of the chores and driving the tractor.

Glen was very active in farm resource projects and earned several awards for soil conservation. Glen and Janet were recipients of the Sioux City Marc Cox Conservation Award and the Omaha World Herald Conservation Award.

A lot of Glen’s innovative soil conservation projects are being used today.

Through the years, visitors from several foreign counties visited the Olson farm to learn more about soil conservation.  An aerial photo of the Olsen farm place, where their son now lives, can be seen on the front cover of the October 1985 Cedar County Soil Survey Book.

Glen and Janet believe the farm was a good place to raise their four children who were all active in 4-H.

“The boys showed livestock and our daughter did the sewing projects,” Janet said.

 

The Olson family includes a daughter, Marsha, who now lives in Lincoln; Rev. Gaylund Olson, Hebron, N.D.; Gordon, who now lives on the farm, and Gary at Iowa City, Iowa. Their children are all graduates of Laurel-Concord High School. Two of the children attended Doane College, one went to Wayne State College and one attended the University of Nebraska.

Glen and Janet also have 10 grandkids and 18 great-grandkids.

The couple also has many good memories of traveling across the United States.

“We have been to all of the states on the mainland except for one, which was Oregon,” Glen said. “We took greyhound bus tours and also did several other trips.”

Of all of their trips, Janet’s favorite was a tour of states along the East Coast.

“Our son was in seminary on the East Coast and we were able to visit him. We also toured Washington D.C.,” she said.

The Olsons have continued to keep busy through the years and have been active in their community.

Janet has a talent for making quilts and Glen has done a lot of woodworking.

Glen and Janet have both been familiar faces at the Hillcrest Care Center, Laurel.

Every Tuesday, for 26 years, Janet had been a volunteer at the nursing home, where she helped fix hair for the residents.

Glen volunteered on Tuesday’s by helping with some of the maintenance work at the nursing home.

“He is handy at fixing things,” Janet said.

Glen had been given the honor of being named “Citizen of the Year” during Laurel’s Ag Day celebration. He is still doing some woodworking projects at home and Janet now keeps busy with the computer.