Oliver Emerson

Oliver “Ollie” J. Emerson, 96, of Waukon died Friday, March 25, 2016 at his home in Waukon. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, March 30 at 11 a.m. at Zion United Church of Christ in Waukon, with Pastor Samantha Houser officiating. Burial with military graveside rites will be at Oakland Cemetery, Waukon. Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon.

Oliver John Emerson, son of Lloyd and Mary (O’Dea) Emerson, was born September 15, 1919. He joined his family that had four sisters, Beatrice, Josephine, Lou and Katherine, and two brothers, Tiffan and James. Oliver was the youngest of the family. When he was young, he remembers that his father took him on a train ride to Denver, CO for his grandmother Lucy Emerson’s funeral. Later on, Oliver drove a Hamms beer truck from Elkader to Minneapolis, MN. Oliver left school early to help support his family, but returned and graduated. In his senior year, he had a teacher by the name of Miss Meiners, an English major.

February 5, 1941, Oliver enlisted in the Army/AirCorp, 2nd Armored Division and took his basic training at Ft. Benning, GA. Coming home for a weekend pass by train, Oliver proposed to Miss Meiners. They were married December 25, 1941 in Elkader. Chris finished teaching that year, then joined Ollie down south. They used to share that they were so broke that they ate peanuts and drank orange juice at tent revivals. Ollie would be stationed at Great Falls, MT and there they welcomed into the world their first child, Alice Lynne.

Ollie was a navigator during World War II and, as he put it, “I jumped the ‘Pond’ at least seven or eight times.” He would eventually be stationed in England and spent a weekend furlough with his brother, Jim. Two weeks later Jim was killed in a bombing accident when the pilot above Jim’s plane released his bomb too soon. Years later, Ollie would say, “Things happen in war and you have to accept it and move on.”

Ollie served in active duty and reserve duty for 25 years, retiring as a Major in the United States Air Force. He and Chris would joke and say, “Chris is the English major and Ollie is the American Major.”

Oliver and Chris began farming, first in Ludlow Township, then at Farmersburg, and then they settled on a farm northwest of Waterville in 1948, which they came to call Brooklane Farms. Joining Alice Lynne were her brother James (Joe), sister Diane and brother Kevin. Oliver and Chris resided there at Brooklane Farms until they moved into their home in Waukon in 2001.

Oliver and Chris taught their children to work and service to others by example. Oliver served on the Waterville school board and then on the Waukon school board; served on the Ace Telephone boards, first locally then on the executive board for a total of 44 years; served on the church boards at United Church of Christ, the Emerson’s home church; served on Farm Bureau boards; and with the Republican Party in both local and state positions, earning Oliver the nickname “Mr. Republican”. He served on the State Soil Conservation Committee for 12 years and then some. All of these opportunities gave Ollie and Chris lifelong friends. Oliver was a lifelong member of the VFW and the American Legion. Chris would travel with Ollie, correcting papers and together discussing life.

They loved to see and be with their family and friends and travel. Their journeys took them all across Iowa, this country, and to Europe. Their love of country was heartfelt and shared with their children.

Ollie continued to live at their home in Waukon after Chris’ death December 31, 2005. They had shared 64 years together, packing the years with lots of memories.

Many times Ollie would say: “It is never so bad that it can’t be twice as bad,” or he would say: “You don’t have to look down the road too far to find someone who has it worse than you.” Another favorite saying of his was “Que sera, Que sera – whatever will be, will be.” His view on life was this, “Life is the opportunity to do what we want and do it well, and if we don’t do it well, God help us.” When asked, “Do you believe in Jesus?” His answer was, “Of course, I have no reason not to.”

March 25, 2016 Ollie was called home by the Lord. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters and brothers; his wife, Chris; his daughter-in-law, Sandra Emerson; his son-in-law, Michael Hart; and his great-grandson, Gavin Emerson. He is survived by his children: Alice Lynne Hart, James (Joe) Emerson (fiancée Mary Kruse), Diane (Tracy) Thompson, and Kevin (Janice) Emerson; his grandchildren: Carrie Lynne (Tim) Sorrels, Dean Hart, Nicole (Jon) Edmonds, Jamie (James) McDonald, Katie Guthrie, Troy (Heidi) Thompson, Justin (special friend Becky Spencer) Thompson, Hollie (Erik) Lampe, Angelique (Jon) Shawda, Matthew (Jessica) Emerson and James (Melinda) Emerson; his great-grandchildren: Trey Sorrels, Haley Sorrels Hannan, Noah, Joshua and David Edmonds, Leo, Arabelle, Cara and Finn McDonald, Tate, Tanner, Jack and Colin Thompson, Blaine, Cameron and Mia Thompson, Caden, Jordan, Elin and Devon Lampe, Evelyn and Gwen Shawda, Cameron Emerson, and Alaina Emerson; and many nieces and nephews.

Casketbearers are Carrie Lynne Sorrels, Dean Hart, Nicole Edmonds, Jamie McDonald, Katie Guthrie, Troy Thompson, Justin Thompson, Hollie Lampe, Angelique Shawda, Matthew Emerson and James Emerson.

Online condolences may be left at www.martinfunerals.com.

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