Her angelic program
gave others help

Okinawan Center donor Nakamura
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By Pat Gee

Ivy A. Olson founded the Angel Network in 1989 to help the needy because she believed an angel fed her and her two children a Thanksgiving dinner long ago when she had no food.

Her husband, senior pastor Douglas Olson of Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church in Aina Haina, said that when his wife went the next day to thank the woman who fed them dinner in her apartment, the apartment was empty and she was told no one had lived there for a long time.

"She promised herself that someday she would be the one to do that -- to be the angel, to bring help," he added.

Olson died April 7 of cancer in her Hawaii Kai home. She was 60.

Ivy Olson was born and raised in Bangalore, India. She left for California at 16 to attend high school at Shenandoah Valley Academy, and later graduated from Loma Linda University as a registered nurse.

She was divorced when she met Olson, an Air Force chaplain, at the Tahitian Lanai while she was vacationing with friends in Hawaii. "We met and she never went home," he said. They were married in 1976.

His wife was the moving force -- "she was a very, very powerful lady" -- behind the Angel Network. She received a President George Bush's Thousand Points of Light award in 1992, and a Volunteer of the Year award from President Bill Clinton in 1993, he said.

The Angel Network provided food, shelter and counseling, but "she had the ability to give people a hand up vs. a handout."

"What I loved about her was she was smart and funny and bossy and I'm going to miss all three (qualities). That's my kind of woman. She was not exactly what you'd call a wilting rose -- she was the kind of woman a man likes," he said, laughing.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. April 21 at Calvary. Donations may be made to the Angel Network, Healing Touch, or Calvary.

She is also survived by her children, sons Kevin Armstrong and Andrew Armstrong of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Daniel Olson of St. Paul, Minn., Olaf Olson of Alameda, Calif., and Rick Olson; daughters Sara Petruna of Cleveland, Dawn Olson of Sacramento, Calif., and Mina Morin; sisters Maureen Thomas of Kula, Maui, and Jennifer Higgens of Oregon; and brother Rob Higgens of McMinnville, Ore.

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