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Elva Mae Gardner Olsen

Elva Mae Gardner Olsen passed away peacefully from complications related to age at Manor House care facility in Roseburg, Ore., on October 28, 2011.

Elva Mae was born in Wagner, S.D., on April 2, 1927, to second generation German immigrant parents, Glen and Minnie Herdman. She was the fourth of their six children. Her parents were farmers when Elva Mae was a child and they had very limited financial resources. Elva Mae lived with another family where she did domestic work in order to earn extra money when she was in high school. She could not afford to realize her dream of becoming a nurse but did work her way through business college where she acquired secretarial skills that would serve her well in a variety of future jobs.

The Herdman family moved to Medford, Ore., and Elva Mae went to work at Bear Creek Orchards (later becoming Harry and David) where she met a fellow employee named Ward Gardner. They married on June 26, 1947 and eventually both worked for the State of Oregon, Department of Employment. Ward was a tax auditor and Elva was a supervisor in the unemployment division.

Ward and Elva were married for over 47 years, until Ward passed away in November of l994. Ten years later Elva married a fellow member of her church, Jim Olsen, who survives her.

The most important things in Elva Mae's life were her family and her religious faith. She was a long and faithful member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church where she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and volunteered in many other activities and jobs. For years she visited church members in care facilities and delivered the weekly church bulletins to them. She was a loving and involved grandmother to her four grandchildren who loved spending time with her and will miss her greatly.

In addition to Jim Olsen, Elva is survived by her two daughters, Cheryl (Bill) Burnett and Marla Gardner; her four grandchildren, Mark (Jeanne) Burnett, Michelle (Chris) Peck, Taylor Jones, and Sheldon Jones; four great grandchildren, Sophia and Ethan Peck, Jack and Dylan Burnett; her sisters, Lois Brock, Ruth Wulf, Carol Klepper; her brother, Keith Herdman; and many neices and nephews. A fourth sister, Glenlynn Ammons, predeceased her.

There will be a memorial service at 1:00 p.m., Monday, November 7, 2011, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Medford. Her family wishes to thank the staff at Manor House and Amedysis Hospice who took such excellent and loving care of her in the last months of her life.

Remembrances in Elva Mae's memory should be directed to St. Peter's Lutheran Church, 1020 E Main Street, Medford, Oregon 97504 or to a favorite charity.

Elva Mae Gardner Olsen