Claire Thomes Olson
Olson, Claire Thomes age 93, passed away on March 19, 2021 in Edina, MN, from complica- tions from a fall. She was a resident of Richfield, MN. She is survived by her five children, Libby (Tom) Hollahan, Peter Olson (Mary Hanson), Martha Olson, Ted (Kathy) Olson, and Rick (Akiko) Olson; three step-children, Margaret Clark, Roger (Louise) Clark, and David (Pamela) Clark; six grandchildren, Bobby Hollahan, John Hollahan (Rebecca Moloney), Laura Hollahan, Suzanne Ludwig, Evan Worrell, and Forrester Olson; eight step-grandchildren, Laura (Robert) Seliski, Rebecca (Troy) Androli, Emily (Paul) Dieter, Alexander (Rachel) Clark, Aaron (Cali) Clark, Katie Hallenbeck, Stephen Hallenbeck, and Gray (Haijing) Hallenbeck; nine step- great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her husband, Neil Clark; her parents, Charles B. and Susan B. Thomes; her brother, Dr. A. Boyd Thomes; and her sisters, Margaret Bolstad and Mary Johnson. Claire was born in Minneapolis, MN, in 1927. Upon graduating from Marshall High School in 1944, she took a summer job in the mailroom of the Los Alamos National Laboratory during the Manhattan Project. She attended Stanford University and received her B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota, where she studied political science. In 1948, she studied at Charles University in the former Czechoslovakia at the time of the Communist takeover. She received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Radcliffe College. She had a long career in education, as a civics teacher; as an administrator at the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges in Washington, D.C., and as an Assistant Director of Development at the University of Minnesota's College of Continuing Education, where she focused on music education through the MacPhail Center for the Arts. Claire was a member of the First Unitarian Society, in Minneapolis, where she met her husband, Neil. She was active in the League of Women Voters. She was a former board member of her co-operative apartment, the Gramercy, where she had many dear friends. She was an avid reader, making frequent use of Hennepin County Library System's "At Home by Mail" program, and was a former volunteer with the Library Friends. In her earlier years, she loved to travel with Neil on cruises sponsored by "The Nation" magazine, including a trip to Cuba, and on Elderhostel programs to Russia, Hawaii and the Southwest. She and Neil also lived in Hungary for several months. Closer to home, they enjoyed family trips to the North Shore and the Gunflint Trail for canoeing and hiking. She was a prolific writer of letters to the editor, many of which were published in the Minneapolis Star & Tribune over the years, on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from airplane noise to the environment to fair housing. Writing in defense of a college professor who'd been ostracized for speaking out against the Vietnam War, in 1965 she asked, "Why doesn't a man have a right to be different from the masses? And why, if he is different (and is brave enough to admit it), must he be condemned as evil?" Prescient words. Claire generously donated her body to the University of Minnesota Anatomy Bequest Program. A celebration of her life will take place at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Friends of the Hennepin County Library -- supporthclib.org/….
Published on March 28, 2021
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