Denis James Olson, 81, of Fargo, North Dakota, died Sunday, February 13, 2022, at his home in Naples, Florida. Denis was born on December 19, 1940 in West Fargo, North Dakota to Harriet and Everett Olson. In 1951, his parents moved the family to the farmhouse south of West Fargo. Denis graduated from West Fargo High School in 1958 and on June 19, 1959, he married Linda Pederson. Denis is a graduate of Moorhead State University, where he earned a degree in accounting while raising a young family, playing football, and working full time.
After college, he began his career at Foss, Engelstad & Foss Architects and Engineers, where he was an accountant and company manager. In the early 1970s, Denis met his mentor, Warren Cowgill. Together they formed the Cowgill-Olson Agency, a business development and management firm. During the 1980s, Denis began building hotels across the United States, with properties in Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana and Florida. In recent years, he has downsized his properties and was currently developing his legacy project, Gateway, with EPIC Companies, located on Main Avenue, connecting Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN.
Denis was a lifelong athlete with a passion for racquetball and golf. He enjoyed sharing his love of golf with the many friends he met along the way. Denis’ other love was flying his plane, an Aerostar. He was a long-time member of Fargo Country Club, Sons of Norway and many other organizations.
Denis is survived by: daughters Carrie (Todd) Austin of Pelham, NH, Jill (Kevin Jacobson) Olson of Kindred, ND, and son James (Shannon) Olson, of Fargo, ND; seven grandchildren: Jon Brown, Brett Austin, Trent Austin, Lauren Austin, Denis Olson, Jacob Olson and Nicholas Olson, and by his sister, Renae (Mark) Beaton of Kindred, ND, and brother Duane (Kristi) Olson of Park Rapids, MN, and his partner Denise Thompson of Fargo, ND. He is predeceased by his wife Linda, his parents and his sister Beverly Houkom.
A Celebration of Life was held at Quail West, Naples, Florida on Sunday, February 20, 2022.
The memorial service will be held Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. at the West Funeral Home, West Fargo, ND, with pre-service visitation from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A private family burial will be held at Riverside Cemetery, Fargo.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in Denis’ honor be made to; Minnesota State University Moorhead, MSUM Foundation and/or Sons of Norway Kringen Lodge 4-25, Fargo, ND.