Cover photo for Thomas M. Olson's Obituary
Thomas M. Olson Profile Photo

Thomas M. Olson

January 28, 1946 — January 21, 2024

Garden City, Missouri

Thomas M. Olson

Thomas Marvin Olson of Garden City, Missouri passed away at home, surrounded by his family, on January 21, 2024.  Visitation will be from 2-4 PM on Sunday the 28th, at the Dickey Funeral Home in Harrisonville, Missouri. His memorial service will begin at 10:30 AM on Monday the 29th, at Heart of Life Church in Garden City.  

Tom was born on January 28, 1946, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Orville and Audrey Olson. Tom was a lifelong resident of Sioux Falls and moved to Garden City, MO in 2020.

Tom graduated from Washington Senior High School, class of 1964. He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1968.  He began his employment with the City of Sioux Falls Health Department as a Public Health Scientist.  In 1971, Tom was awarded a Fellowship from CDC in Atlanta for Graduate Studies in Public Health at the University of North Carolina, specializing in Public Health Microbiology. He received a Masters Degree in Public Health in 1973.  Tom then returned to Sioux Falls, was named Public Health Laboratory Director, and then later was appointed Public Health Director/City Health Officer, where he served until his retirement in 1999.  Tom then joined the S.D Primary Care Assoc. & the University of South Dakota School of Medicine’s mission to improve access to Primary Health Care in the rural and frontier areas as well as the 4 Native American Reservations in South Dakota.   Nine years and thousands of miles later, several new health care access clinics had been created and Tom decided it was time for a “final” retirement.  Tom’s 40+ year professional career was dedicated to “protecting & promoting the public health” of the citizens of Sioux Falls and South Dakota. 

Hobbies and Personal Interests: Purebred Dogs: Tom and wife Deb bred, raised, and trained AKC Registered Gordon Setters. Their breeding program, under the AKC kennel name MacAlder, spanned 30 years and produced over 100 AKC Champions. Tom served as Vice President and President from 1984 - 1989 of the Gordon Setter Club of America.  In 2000, Tom was selected to judge the first and only International Gordon Setter Championship Show in Manchester, England. 275 Gordon Setters from around the World were entered for the 2 day event.

Tom was an “outdoors guy” who loved the hunting and fishing opportunities in South Dakota, from stalking mule deer on the prairies of western South Dakota, to flushing pheasants through dense CRP, and catching walleyes. These adventures created lasting memories with his son Taylor. 

Brought up in a Christian home, Tom always considered himself a believer and a follower of Christ. But it was later in life that God began to work on his heart and to show him the true meaning of a dependent relationship with his creator and Lord. With a diagnosis of cancer, Tom’s faith took on a deeper understanding and he came to totally trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior.

Tom was preceded in death by parents Orville and Audrey Olson, and sisters Karen Jane Unruh (Gary)and Marcia Jean Horst (Merle). He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Deborah Jean, son Taylor Mathew (Emma) Olson, granddaughter Quinn Iris Olson (Garden City, MO),  daughter Laurie Helm and her 5 children (Sioux Falls), nephews Jon Unruh (Bonnie) and Jeff Unruh (Lisa) Michigan.

Funeral Service will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday, January 29, 2024 at Heart of Life Church, Garden City, Missouri  with internment at Clearfork Cemetery, Garden City, Missouri. 

Contributions may be made to Heart of Life Church Memorial Fund, contributions may be mailed to Dickey Funeral Home, P.O. Box 432, Harrisonville, Missouri 64701.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas M. Olson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Sunday, January 28, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, January 29, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1452

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree