Charles L. Olson

Charles L. “Chuck” Olson died May 16, 2023, surrounded by loving family in his home in Boise, Idaho, at the age of 83.

Chuck was born in Chicago in 1939 to Tage and Amanda (nee Grafstrom) Olson. He attended Bryn Mawr Elementary School and Chicago Vocational High School in Chicago. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute, learning everything from the shop where his father once worked all the way to engineering design and production. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota and completed the management program at the University of Illinois.

In 1961, Chuck married his junior high school sweetheart, Bonnie (nee Bohne) Olson. Together they raised three children, Kurt, Christine and Karen, in Riverside.

Following his 31-year career with General Motors, Chuck and Bonnie took advantage of an early retirement offer and moved to Boise. There Chuck had the opportunity at Morrison Knudsen to assist in refurbishing the locomotives he had originally been involved in building. 

This new experience eventually took them on a year-long adventure living in southwest France where he helped build an all-electric high-speed train. They spent another two years in Hornell, New York, seeing it to fruition, and finally returned to Boise to retire.

Chuck is survived by his wife, Bonnie; children Kurt (Jan) Olson, Christine (Craig) Chvatal and Karen (Mark) Binder; grandchildren Jake and Eric Chvatal and Megan and Lauren Binder. Survivors also include many cousins in the U.S. and Sweden.

A private celebration of life is planned for late summer.