Gene Edward Olson, 86, passed away peacefully on Thanksgiving morning Thursday, November 23rd, 2023, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin surrounded by his loved ones.
Gene was born on June 29th, 1937, in Kenosha, Wisconsin and grew up in Bristol, Wisconsin. Gene grew up in the household of Edward and Linnea Olson in Bristol.
Gene graduated from the second ever graduating class at Salem Central High School in 1955 in which he received valedictorian honors. Gene furthered his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in which he received a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in the class of 1960.
Gene had a worldwide recognized career at Snap-On Tools Inc. in Kenosha, Wisconsin in which he was a well-known commodity for over 60 years. Gene began as a draftsman out of high school in 1956 and in the summers during college. Gene then began as an engineer in 1960 after graduating college. Gene’s forward thinking and innovations led him to become known as the “Father of Flank Drive” at Snap-On and was awarded with about two dozen patents that gave Snap-On its prestigious reputation that it has in the tool industry today.
Gene rose through the ranks of the engineering world and ended as a Chief Engineer in 1995. Gene traveled quite a bit representing Snap-On in various trials in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Gene then started his own company to consult on product liability laws, almost entirely on contract with Snap-On. Gene continued working for Snap-On in some capacity until September 2022.
Gene met and married his wife Arlene at UW-Madison and enjoyed 62 years of marriage. Gene and Arlene were worldwide travelers and enjoyed many vacations with Gene’s high-school friend, Jim (Esther) Huntoon.
Gene was a dedicated Wisconsin Badgers fan and has had season tickets since the 1970’s. Gene has received Season Ticket Holder of the Game honors and has seen the Badger Football team play in many places such as Tokyo, the Rose Bowl, and has attended 30 of the Badgers’ bowl games with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Gene also was in attendance for the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XXXI victory in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1997.
In addition to Gene’s successes in his career, he was involved in various church, work, and charity organizations that he gave a lot of time and effort to.
Gene was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Kenosha where he was a longtime usher and volunteer.
In Addition to his dedication to the church, Gene was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha where Gene was an organizer and volunteer at many events such as Kohorama, Taste of Wisconsin, and organizing Christmas basket deliveries throughout the city of Kenosha. Gene also volunteered for Meals on Wheels and has volunteered at the Shalom Center for many years.
Lastly, Gene was on the Board of Directors for organizations such as the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Southeast Wisconsin Blood Bank, and the Hospice Alliance. Gene also was a member for the Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers and the 306 Club.
Gene was most proud of being a dedicated and faithful husband, father, and grandfather. Gene is survived by his wife Arlene; sister, Joyce (Ralph) Myers; son, Scott Olson; daughter Kimberly Graba, grandchildren Jessica (Mackenzie) Widder, Joseph Olson, Edward Graba, great-grandchild Clara Widder, and step granddaughter Stephanie Monday and many step great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, November 26, 2023, at Proko Funeral Home from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Additional visitation will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 919 – 60 Street, Kenosha, WI, on Monday, November 27, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow at North Bristol Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to First United Methodist Church or the Shalom Center.