It is with saddened hearts that the family of Mike Olson, aged 66, announce his passing on July 14, 2019, at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, BC.
Mike is survived by his three sons and the pride of his life: Eric Olson of Williams Lake, Nicolas Olson of Montreal, and Jeremy Phillips of Kamloops; three siblings Daniel Olson (Marina Polosa) of Montreal, Renée Olson of Victoria, and Suzanne Taylor (Bill) of St. Andrews, N.B., and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents Lt. Col (ret) John and Gisèle (Prieur) Olson.
Born in Ottawa, Ont., Mike’s early years were full of new adventures as the family moved to follow their dad’s career, taking him to many locations throughout Canada and the United States.
Life in the air force was exciting for Mike, who loved to meet new people and excelled in sports. He played football at St. Patrick’s and Sir Wilfrid Laurier High Schools in Ottawa. In his high school years in Greenwood, N.S, he was captain of his hockey and lacrosse teams. In 1970, he captained the new West Kings District High School hockey team, winning the provincial Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation ‘A’ Division which earned the team induction into the Berwick, N.S. Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
After high school, Mike continued his love of learning by studying to become and work as a land surveyor. He later studied Psychology and French at Université Laval in Quebec City. Throughout this time, he continued his lifelong interest in music, languages, culture and politics. Mike then married in Quebec City and had his first two sons Eric and Nicolas Olson who are both currently in their early 30's.
Despite becoming separated from their mother at an early age, Mike remained very close to both his sons during their childhood. He would visit them or take them out for field trips on a weekly basis. Some of Eric and Nicolas' favourite outings involved taking the city bus with their dad to “Le Vieux Quebec” which he insisted was by far the most beautiful city in all of Canada. Eric and Nicolas still have pleasant memories of walking around “Le Chateau Frontenac” and “Les Plaines D'Abraham” in the summertime, and going ice skating outside on “La Rue St Jean” with their father in the wintertime.
Health issues led Mike to move to Kamloops, where the arid conditions would be more favourable to him. There, he began Lemon Fresh Carpet Cleaning and would win Kamloops best small business award for three consecutive years. It was also in Kamloops that he had his third son Jeremy Phillips, who is currently in his early 20's.
Mike was fortunate enough to witness two of his sons graduate from high school while living with him in Kamloops. The first one being Eric Olson who graduated from South Kamloops Secondary after moving from Quebec City to live with him when he was only 14. Eric also followed his father's footsteps in ice hockey, and decided to play the sport competitively throughout high-school. Mike came to watch each and every single one of his games both in the season and tournaments.
The second of his sons to live with him, Jeremy Phillips graduated from the Beattie School of Arts Secondary. Jeremy would grow to follow Mike's passion in music and become an exceptional guitar player. He and his father would often play the guitar together in front of family during Christmas and the summertime at countless events held by the Phillips family. Jeremy lived with his father for six years until shortly before his passing. Despite not always being around his three sons, Mike always made continual efforts to remain in close contact with them even in their adulthood.
Most recently, Nicolas Olson flew from Montreal, QC to visit his father in Kamloops, BC from June 4 to June 20, 2019. While in Kamloops, Nicolas spent most of his time and energy helping and taking care of his dad who's worsening health was becoming noticeable.
On June 15, Mike Olson was reunited with his three sons at the same time for one final occasion. Mike, Nicolas and Jeremy drove to visit Eric in Williams Lake, and camped at a site in 150 Mile House with members of the Phillips family. Despite Mike's appalling and concerning state of health, he later expressed that he was extremely happy and thankful to have seen all of his three sons together one more time.
Mike accepted to attend the Royal Inland Hospital the very next afternoon on Fathers Day, June 16. He received visits weekly, if not daily from his sons, siblings and members of the Phillips family.
In the late afternoon of July 13, just over 12 hours before his passing, Mike asked a nurse to call and reach his eldest son Eric who hadn't been able to visit him in Kamloops that particular weekend, unlike the two previous ones. After getting ahold of him, they pleasantly conversed for just over an hour about different events in their lives. This brought back long-ago memories when Mike had recently moved to Kamloops in the mid-nineties while Eric and Nicolas were still children living in Quebec City. Mike would consistently call his two sons every weekend to speak with them, see how they were doing and encourage them in school, work and sports. Even though he wasn't around to regularly see them anymore, he always wanted to make sure that his children were doing well; no matter how far away and how young or old they were.
Mike will forever be remembered by his three sons as someone who cared more for them than anything or anyone else he ever encountered. He will be missed tremendously in ways that can't be fully put in words. At times, frustration will be felt by his family over how unfairly poor his health was, and how early he was forced to leave everyone he loved so dearly. But the thoughts of his immense heart and the priceless positive memories he created for his sons will last for their entire lifetime.
The Olson family would like to sincerely thank Maureen Brown, Susan Phillips and the entire Phillips extended family for their love and support over the past few years, and even more so for the past few months.
A gathering of family and friends to celebrate Mike's heart filled life will take place on Aug. 24, 2019, in Little Fort, B.C.