Since he was a youngster, Duane "Oley" Olson loved music. For more than six decades he was part of one of Fort Dodge's proudest musical traditions - the Karl King Municipal Band.
During Olson's 65 years as part of the band family, he was a musical contributor, often playing the euphonium. He loved the band and made a huge commitment to helping ensure its success.
For more than a half century, Olson was the band's announcer. He was also a member of the board of directors, served as its chairman and was also the band manager. His roles over the years in helping secure the necessary funds for the band's survival and working with its directors to ensure continued musical excellence may not always have been visible to the public. They were, however, crucial contributions.
Karl King was an important part of the musical history of Fort Dodge and the nation. Olson was a very tangible link to the era when King was a very active part of the band. That point was underlined powerfully by Paul Bloomquist, of Dayton, a band member.
"We lost a part of Karl King in the person of Oley Olson," Bloomquist told The Messenger.
For many Fort Dodgers, it will be hard to imagine a Karl King Municipal Band concert without Olson's presence. His death this week at age 80 will sadden many hearts. We can take consolation, however, in the realization that he lived a life he loved, while at the same time making our town richer for his presence.