Hallie Delaine Olson, 88, passed away in her sleep at the Benefis East Memory Care Unit in Great Falls on April 13, 2022. Hallie was a loving wife, devoted mother, doting grand and great grandmother, a highly respected educator and a woman of amazing heart who truly touched everyone that she met.
Hallie Jenkins was born in Great Falls on January 11, 1934, the youngest child of Ernest “E.O.” and Hallie Dorothy Jenkins, each of whom had children from previous marriages. Growing up on the family homestead on the Fairfield Bench north of Sun River, Hallie went to Simms High School before graduating from Fairfield in 1952.
She attended Colorado Women’s College but paused her educational pursuits to marry the love of her life, Larry Olson, in 1954. After briefly living in Great Falls, the couple, who now had a baby boy, Kyle, moved onto the Jenkins farm, which they worked and ultimately bought. Over the next four years they would have another son, Kim, and a daughter, Karin.
In the late 60’s, Hallie’s desire to complete her education and to become a teacher led her to enroll at the College of Great Falls where she took classes while also waiting tables weekends and nights at Scheffi’s Pancake House. Midway through her degree program, Hallie would be given the opportunity to put her order pad and apron away for good, when she began teaching on an “emergency” certificate at Vaughn Elementary School. She would be in classrooms for the next 34 years. Along the way, she graduated from CGF in 1973.
Life having a sense of humor, it was also during these years that Hallie and Larry were blessed with Keeley, their fourth child and second daughter. With four children spread over 16 years, she would become a fixture at every Fairfield sporting event, class play, and school concert for most of the next two decades, driving with her children to home and away events, and being the one to listen to their hopes and fears as they became young adults.
As Hallie continued to watch over her growing family, her reputation as a teacher – and a girls basketball coach – flourished. Innumerable children were changed by their time with her. Hallie’s students knew her as their loving champion, time and again devoting herself to helping the little ones that had been left behind.
Consistent with her desire to help those who needed it most, Hallie earned her Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from Northern Montana College. In the later years of her career she provided guidance and counseling at Vaughn and Greenfield.
Hallie was active in the Montana Education Association, volunteering time on MEA committees, attending national conventions, and serving one term as the organization’s president. She was a lifelong parishioner of St. John’s Catholic Church in Fairfield.
Upon retirement, Hallie traveled extensively with Larry across the United States, visiting their children and grandchildren in Alaska, Washington and Virginia. As members of the Good Sam Club they loved loading up their motorhome and trekking to gatherings across Big Sky Country and beyond. Eventually they purchased a second home, wintering in Yuma, Arizona with friends old and new, where they discovered new adventures together in the autumn of their lives.
Hallie was preceded in death by her husband Larry and her son Kim, her sisters Ilah Kienast, Doris Jenkins and Naomi DiGiacomo, and her brother Marvin Jenkins. She is survived by her son Kyle (Elaine) Olson, daughters Karin (John) McGrath and Keeley Olson, and daughter-in-law Gretchen Olson; and by her many grandchildren and great grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
The family plans a memorial for later in the summer.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com