Jack Lee Olson was born in Boise, Idaho, on May 2, 1936, to William and Katherine Olson. He grew up in the North End and attended Longfellow Elementary, North Junior High, and graduated from Boise High School in 1954. He also attended Boise Junior College and graduated from San Jose State with a BS in Industrial Management and an MBA degree.
Jack met Alice Erquiaga (Meridian) in 1954 at a Basque Center dance. They attended Boise Junior College where Jack was a cheerleader for two years and Alice studied. They were married in August 1958 and moved to San Jose where Jack attended school and where they started their family. Kathleen joined them in 1966 and Steven in 1967.
During his early life, Jack worked as a surveyor for the Bureau of Public Roads and for Morrison-Knudsen on Brownlee Dam. After college he worked in the Bay area as an industrial engineer and then for many years at Diamond Fruit Growers in Hood River, Oregon, where he was Vice President of Operations.
In the mid-1980’s, Alice and Jack owned and operated a grocery store in Yucca Valley, California and then one in Las Vegas, Nevada. They retired in 1995 and were fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with their three grandchildren who started arriving in 1996.
Jack has served as president of Rotary, Jaycees, and Toastmasters and was a member of the Hood River City Council for four years. Upon his return to Boise in 1998, he has been a member of the Biotzetik Basque Choir and has been active in the Basque Center serving on the board and chairing the expansion committee and was a lifetime member of the Boise State Alumni Association. He was an avid fisherman who liked to share his boat with anyone interested in going, especially his grandchildren. He also lived for his annual Steelhead fishing trip to Riggins with his family and friends.
Jack lost his beloved wife, Alice, to cancer in 2009; however, they were fortunate enough to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary together prior to Alice’s passing. They had a very wonderful and active life together which included three trips to the Basque country in Spain, several trips to Hawaii, and a trip to the first Fiesta Bowl win for Boise State.
Jack was fortunate enough to find the second love of his life with Linda Howe who had lost her husband five years earlier. They had been good friends for over forty years and found that they could build a solid relationship on that friendship. They have enjoyed many good times with each other’s families and have traveled extensively.
Jack passed on Thursday, January 19, 2023 at the age of 86 from lung cancer.
Those surviving Jack include Linda Howe, daughter Kathy Olson, son Steve Olson, grandchildren Allison, Ashley and Gavin Olson, brother Bob Olson, numerous nephews, nieces and cousins, and Alice’s very close extended Basque family. He was preceded in death by his wife Alice, his father and mother, his brothers James Olson and Mike Olson, and his sister-in-law Evelyn Olson Valenti.
Memorials in Jack’s honor may be made to Biotzetik Basque Choir, Euzkaldunak (Basque Center), Basque Museum and Cultural Center or a charity of your choice.
Biotzetik Basque Choir
601 Grove St., Boise ID 83702
Web: https://www.cenarrusa.org (https://www.cenarrusa.org)
Basque Museum and Cultural Center
611 W. Grove St., Boise, ID 83702
Web: https://basquemuseum.eus (https://basquemuseum.eus)
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 2/4/2023 at 10:00 AM, Mountain Standard Time.