Professor Passes Away
Dr. LeRoy D. Olson passed away Jan. 31, 2010. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2010, at Parker Funeral Service in Columbia, Mo. Graveside services will be private.
He was born and grew up on a livestock farm in East Chain, southwest of the township of Blue Earth, Minnesota. He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture (1954), and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (1958) from the University of Minnesota. He completed a master’s degree in veterinary parasitology (1962) and a PhD in comparative pathology (1965) from Purdue University. He married his wife, Janice Wood in 1954.
From 1958 to 1960 he served on active duty in the United States Army. In 1989 he retired from the Veterinary Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of colonel. From 1960 to 1965 he was an instructor at the Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Pathology, and Public Health at Purdue University. Then he moved to Columbia, Mo., as an associate professor (1965) and professor (1975) in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. During his time at University of Missouri, he taught veterinary clinical pathology, histology, veterinary parasitology, veterinary virology, and swine and poultry diseases. He also mentored 20 students toward master’s or doctorate degrees. Dr. Olson was committed to encouraging research and publication. He taught his students to observe and report unusual veterinary phenomenon and believed that patterns and solutions could be found in scientific literature and reports from the field. He authored and co-authored more than 130 peer-refereed publications. The subjects of these publications included fowl cholera, streptococci in turkeys, gastroenteritis, salmonella, and swine dysentery. During this time at the University of Missouri he developed several vaccines for diseases of turkeys and swine that are still widely in use all over the world today.
In addition, Dr. Olson taught swine diseases in Poland in 1976 on a Polish Academy of Science Award. In 1979 he studied salmonella control in the Scandinavian countries on behalf of the World Health Organization. Dr. Olson was also awarded three Fulbright Lectureship teaching awards spending a year in Syria in 1978, a year in Zimbabwe in 1989, and a year in Ukraine in 1998. In 1995, he received the Pfizer Excellence in Poultry Research Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association and in 1996 he won an award for Outstanding Research on Disease affecting Livestock and Poultry Production issued jointly by the American Feed Industry and the American Veterinary Medical Association. During his retirement, Dr. Olson actively participated in an International Seminar at the University of Missouri devoted to geopolitics and world problems.
Dr. Olson is survived by his wife of 55 years, Janice Olson of Columbia; a brother, Stanley Olson, of Fairmont, Minn; a son, Timothy Olson of Columbia; a daughter, Gwen Olson Struchtemeyer, of Columbia, and two grandsons, Will and Benton Struchtemeyer of Columbia. Dr. Olson was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorial donations may be sent to the College of Veterinary Medicine, c/o Dr. Ron Cott, W-205 Veterinary Medicine Building, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., 65211. Memorials will be applied toward scholarships for graduate students in veterinary medicine.
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