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Eleanor Elizabeth Olesen
May 9, 1929 ~ April 9, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Our beautiful mother and friend passed into Jesus’ arms on Easter, her favorite day of the year. Her constant smile and kind ways will be deeply missed by her large and loving family.
Eleanor was born into a farming family on May 9, 1929. Her parents, Conrad and Emma Bosse, and eight brothers and sisters were living in Chewelah, Washington, at the time. When she was 10, they moved to a farm home just north of Moscow, where she and her twin sister, Evelyn, began attending St. Mary’s School.
After high school, Ellie went on a blind date, arranged by “sis” Ev, with the blue-eyed Dane of her dreams. It was so fitting that Ellie and Bill Olesen met this way. She soon married this great man, just as Evie married her date and the four happy hearts became famous friends for the rest of their lives.
Ellie and Bill shared a devotion to hard work and raising their family of four children. Everyone that knew them saw this remarkable devotion play out over the years in very successful business ventures and a bountiful farm operation on Buffalo Hill, named after their herd along the Troy highway.
In her early years, Ellie worked at the Daily Idahonian in the bindery department. She and Evelyn had plans, though, and eventually purchased and managed Jaclyns Childrens’ and Maternity Wear shop, an icon on Main Street for many years. How many times customers took a double-look at the truly identical twins we will never know – but it was always fun and the ladies made it even harder by dressing alike much of the time. They swore it was always a coincidence, like so many other common experiences they shared. The stories!
Eleanor was known for other fun traits as well. Among her artistic hobbies, she crocheted many beautiful afghans. Every grandchild and great grandchild received one as a graduation gift. There was always a blanket under construction on Buffalo Hill. One of Ellie’s favorite pastime was sports – particularly the Mariners, Gonzaga and Monday Night Football.
Her work efforts seemed to know no end. She was a member of Women of the Moose, Catholic Daughters and Paradise Lions Club for decades. She cooked and cleaned and sought donations (making quite a few) for yard sales and whatever else she could do to help.
Ellie also may be one of the luckiest people on the planet. Everyone at Bingo nights gasped in frustration when she walked through the door. She habitually won multiple times at each event. If there was a table prize or raffle tickets at any of her innumerable community events, she was bound to take something home. She was a regular winner at pinochle or rummy as well.
Ellie and Bill were constant companions in their thousands of miles of RV travel around the country each year. They spent 20 years being snowbirds in Yuma, Arizona.
Living to the beautiful age of 93 was a blessing for us. Ellie loved and taught us all wordlessly through her kindness, smile, hard work and devotion to family and church.
Eleanor is survived by her dearest friend and twin sister, Evelyn Grassl; her children, Wayne Olesen and wife Carol, Lorrayne Johnson and husband Gary, Ken Olesen and wife Jayne, and “PJ”-Phyllis Hudson and husband Tom; her fourteen grandchildren; fifteen great grandchildren; and 4 great-great grandchildren. Her husband of 67 years and our dear father, Bill (William Olaf), preceded her in 2015.
There will be a family Mass for Eleanor on May 2, 2023 at St. Mary’s Church in Moscow. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to Elite Hospice and Moscow Central Lions Club. We are deeply thankful to Marie Martson Hammond and to the Hill House Memory Care team for their extraordinary kindness, friendship and professional care for our mother.