Vernon T. “Tom” Olson, Merrill, formerly of Wausau, passed away from lung and metastatic prostate cancer at the age of 73, on July 19, 2021, at home surrounded by his loving family. His cancer was considered to be a result of his contact with Agent Orange while serving with the Army in Vietnam.
Tom was born on February 5, 1948, in Green Bay, WI. He was the 7th child out of 9 children to the late Vernon M. and Beatrice (Lyons) Olson. At age 5 the family moved to Wausau, WI.
Tom attended schools at St. James Catholic School, St Anne Catholic School, John Muir Jr. High School, and graduated from Wausau High School in 1966. He later attended Northcentral Technical College and UW-Stevens Point.
Tom served 20 years in the military, including the Army, Air Force, and Air Force Reserve. During his active service, he served in Bremerhaven, Germany; Pleiku, South Vietnam; Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Denver, Colorado.
In 1968 Tom married his high school sweetheart, Karen Erdmann. Their honeymoon took them to Niagara Falls, Boston, and New York City. In 1969 they made their first home together at Fort Campbell, KY. They celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2018.
Tom is survived by his wife Karen (Erdmann); two great sons, Christopher (Josie) and Scott (Kelly), of Merrill; siblings, Verneen (Don) Londerville, Wausau, Wayne Olson, Wausau, Gregory (Nadeen) Olson, Austin, MN, Toni (the late Mike) Sanford, and Faye (Dennis) Hardt, Rothschild; six grandchildren, Landon, Evan, Ryan, Brennan, Shane, and Elayna; as well as many nieces and nephews. Tom is preceded in death by his siblings, Allen, Warren (Betty), Milwaukee, and Daniel (Deborah) Olson, Wausau.
After his discharge from the active-duty Air Force, Tom went to work for Marathon Box Company (later known as MBX Packaging Specialists). After 25 years of service, he retired from MBX. His last position was Vice President, Sales, and Marketing. While working at MBX, Tom and Karen also owned and operated Olson Photography, obtaining a large share of the photography market of the high school and youth sports photography in the Wausau Area.
Upon retirement, Tom and Karen spent many winter months in Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL, or traveling the southern and southwestern states in their motorhome. Their last motorhome trip took them to New England, New York City, and south along the eastern seaboard.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at Helke Funeral Home, 302 Spruce Street, Wausau. Visitation will take place from 10:00 AM until the time of services at the funeral home. Family and friends are asked to go to www.helke.com to leave words of remembrance and online condolences.
The family wishes to thank both the staff at Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services; as well as Pamela K. Schotz from Lincoln County Veteran Services for the excellent care that they provided to Vernon.
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