96 Year Old Katie (Roth) Olson is a True Gem

Naomi Rolandson

Naomi Rolandson

Post written by Naomi Rolandson, Music Lover| Hairdresser | Good book and a rainy day| Beautiful Scenery| Puzzle Maniac | Go Cubs Go!!

Every town has one: that person who can be found in the middle of whatever is going on. Entertaining, cooking, volunteering, planning, organizing, directing, leading, teaching….and the list goes on.

Hysham claims 96-year-old Katie (Roth) Olson, as our local gem. Katie is an extraordinary woman who has lived a full life in this small community. She was born in Billings, Montana, the 7th of 12 children.

Her family moved to a farm near Sanders (east of Hysham) when she was in upper elementary school. Katie recalls her father growing sugar beets and harvesting them with a team of horses.

Katie Olson

She and many of her classmates were kept out of school for several weeks in the Fall to help with the process. Asked about the harvest, Katie fondly replies, “I never did learn to drive a tractor but I sure knew how to drive a team of horses!”

Katie graduated from Hysham High School in 1941. She married the love of her life, John Olson, before he left to serve in WW II. While John was gone, Katie lived with his two sisters in Bozeman and began a short career as a hairdresser.

When John returned from the war, the couple moved back to the Hysham area and farmed. A few years later, they purchased their own farm and have lived and worked there for over 65 years.

John and Katie raised five children, instilling in them a good work ethic, love for their family, community, and church.

While John was farming, Katie was busy raising a garden, canning, cooking, washing on a wringer washer and sewing clothes for the kids.

Katie and John

“I remember sewing late into the night because there wasn’t time during the day to get it done.”

They enjoyed going to dances and gathering with friends when time allowed.

As her family grew up, Katie began to take a more active approach to community organizations and events.

She has been a long-time member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Treasurebelles, Hysham Woman’s Club, Red Hatters, Wine and Roses Bridge Club, and Treasure County Senior Citizens.

Through her church, she has taught catechism classes and been involved in Altar Society.

Although she never felt she could serve as an officer in these organizations, with the help of one special lady giving her the encouragement she needed, Katie found her voice and began her tireless effort to improve her community.

She’s always been eager to lend a helping hand, a pan of bars, a meal, or whatever anyone might need. She’s been involved in community cleanups, style shows, community plays, improvements to the local cemetery, building the original swimming and wading pool, dinners, committees, pie sales, and so much more.

She has also been the recipient of the Hysham Chamber of Commerce “Good Citizen of the Year” award. Katie believes anything can be accomplished; you just need the right motivation…. or motivator, as the case may be.

John passed away in 2015. The farm is still productive and is managed today by their son David. Katie enjoys spending time with her children and their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She recently enjoyed an Alaskan Cruise and an outing on the “Chew Chew Train.”

Katie admits, “I can’t do the things I used to do, but I don’t want to miss out on anything!”

Alas, what would our community do without our social engineer? We are so grateful that she gathered her courage, found her voice and became a true leader. She is an inspiration to all and is a true “gem” of Treasure County.

3 replies
  1. Sandy Kicker
    Sandy Kicker says:

    awww, Katie Olson!! What a great lady. When I think of Hysham and our wonderful years there; I always remember the people who were an example to me. Katie is one of those people. I loved her pies!! Especially her Sour Cream Raisin Pies, and was known to buy as many as 5 pieces on election day. No one makes them like Katie. The centennial year that she got several of us younger ladies to dance the Charleston was such a great experience. Her example in the community was alway something I felt I could learn from and follow. Katie, your a great example. Thanks. Sandy Kicker

  2. Monti J Wetsch
    Monti J Wetsch says:

    Awesome write up Naomi! Katie is as cute as ever. I’ve always thought the world of her and John. Bless ya Katie … you are truly a gem!


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