Carole Olson


Carole Anne Olson, 85 of Martinsburg, died peacefully at her home, March 17, 2023, surrounded by her children. 

She was born September 17, 1937, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Wm. Lawrence and Theodora M. Stoessel Musgrove. Carole and her younger sister, Bette Jo, were raised in the home of their aunt, Loretta Stoessel. She attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and graduated from Ottumwa Heights Academy in 1955 and Iowa State Teachers College in 1960. In April 1961, Carole married Jerry Lynn Olson in Ottumwa; they later divorced. She married Ivan Dee Engle December 27, 1984, and he preceded her in death on August 2, 1995.

Carole began her career teaching kindergarten in the Cedar Rapids school system. She taught elementary at Lincoln, Wildwood and Horace Mann elementary schools and received her master’s degree from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD. She learned sign language and for 15 years, instructed hearing-impaired students at Agassiz elementary school. Carole taught four decades in the Ottumwa School District before retiring in 2000. “Mrs. Olson” coached girls’ volleyball at Walsh, Washington, and Evans Junior High schools and coached her daughters’ YWCA softball teams. Carole was a member of St. Mary of the Visitation in Ottumwa, where she taught religious education and RCIA. She was also a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Sigourney, where she served as director of religious education teaching conformation classes to students. She also played piano for the choir at both churches.

Carole was a member of the Ottumwa Education Association, and served as 1982-83 president; PEO Chapter G, and 2000-04 president; Ottumwa Women’s Club; Quota International, and 2004-06 governor; Upsilon Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, and 1982-83 president; Questors and Iowa State Education Association.

Traveling was one of Carole’s favorite hobbies. She and Ivan enjoyed motorcycling, often vacationing in Colorado with other friends and family. As a child, Carole spent summers at her family’s cabin in Ward, CO, so it was fitting that in 1997, she purchased her own cabin in Raymond, CO near Estes Park. Carole played the piano beautifully and accompanied many students during solo day competition. Carole was a licensed sub-bird bander, and she enjoyed educating sixth-grade campers and helping them learn to band birds at Forrest Lake Baptist Camp. Carole was a huge fan of her grand-and great-grandchildren’s extra-curricular activities.

Carole is survived by her children: Liz Steinbach of Martinsburg; Chris McFarling (Chad Scott) of Terre Haute, IN; John Olson of Martin, TN; a stepdaughter, Julie Engle (Scott) Knight of Ottumwa; 5 grandchildren, Nick Steinbach, Emilee (Chad) Morrow, Zach (Rhea) Richmond, Jake Steinbach, and Tonni (Logan) Wechter; great-grandchildren: Gavin, Rowan, Claire, Scarlett, Thor, Maddy, Chase and Blake; a sister, BJ Hall (Denny Seitz) of Martinsburg; and nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her beloved Dachsund, Pepper.

She was preceded in death by a stepdaughter, Jennifer Engle.

Visitation will be open after 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 21st at Reece Funeral Home. A Rosary will be recited at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with the family present to greet friends following the rosary until 7 p.m. Cremation will follow the visitation.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Thursday, March 23rd at St. Mary of the Visitation with Fr. Dale Mallory and Fr. Nick Adam concelebrating. Inurnment will be in Calvary Cemetery. Friends and family are invited to gather in the basement of church following the burial.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Heartland Humane Society in Ottumwa, Shriners Hospitals for Children, or Essence of Life Hospice in Amana, IA.

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