Dunseith High School Class of 1972
Memories of Don Olson and Linus Faine
The Dunseith High School class of 1972 will be holding its 50-year class reunion this summer. With a goal of 100 percent of all living members to be in attendance. We’ve been coordinating efforts to locate each member, update archives, and relay the ongoing plans of the reunion as they progress. Since we started this project last fall, two of our classmates have passed away, Linus Faine and Don Olson. Linus and Don were good classmates and dear friends.
Linus was a great football player and a very good basketball player. I’m not sure if you all know, but Linus’s father ‘Old Guff Faine’ played professional hockey in the 1950s. Don Olson was arguably one of the best athletes to come out of Dunseith. Don was the leading scorer three years in a row on the basketball team, all conference three years in a row on the football team. And as a three year starter, pitched a complete game shutout while winning the state high school baseball championship.
More than just an athlete, under Don’s leadership, the class of 72 bonded like no other, and was able to achieve success beyond goals. So, we will go on and have our reunion, we will have our fun, it will be a historic event, but 50 years later, Linus Faine and Don Olson are gone.
( September 16, 1954 – April 15, 2022 )
Donald Orlin Olson, 67, of Dunseith, ND joined his beloved mother in Heaven on April 15, 2022. A private funeral will be held. Visitation for the public will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2022 from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm and a prayer service will begin at 7:00 pm at the Nero Funeral Home in Bottineau. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to the Hearts of Hope at PO Box 685, Belcourt, ND 58316.
Don was born on September 16, 1954, to Orlin Lydell Olson and Lorraine Metcalfe Somers in Rolla, ND. Since his father was a crane operator, he, along with his mother and two brothers, lived in numerous places in North Dakota and Minnesota, finally settling down in Dunseith, ND in 1968, where he attended Dunseith Junior High and High Schools until his graduation in 1972.
In addition to being an Honor Student, Don was an accomplished athlete during his years attending the Dunseith Junior High and High Schools. He excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. He was an integral part of the 1972 Dragon team that took 5th place in the State “B” basketball tournament and the champion baseball team that same year. He was also part of the Dunseith Babe Ruth and Legion baseball teams that won many championships over the years he played. He was once teased that he was too slow to play college or professional baseball and he responded by stating that, “You don’t need to be fast when you hit home runs!” He earned a scholarship to play football for the University of North Dakota and was a red-shirt freshman on the team that won the NCAA Division II Championship in 1973. He was humble about his athletic abilities, as he was about many other life accomplishments.
Don married Colette Casavant of Rolette, ND in the Spring of 1973. He managed Morgan Lumbar Yard and Dales Truck Stop in Dunseith, ND for a few years and he and Colette then moved to Devils Lake, ND where Don worked for Bridgeman Dairy and other companies. He made numerous life-long friends along his delivery routes. Don and Colette later divorced after 13 years of marriage.
Don then made a career change and entered college, first at NDSU Bottineau and then at Minot State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree. It was at Minot State University where Don met the love of his life, Linda. He then earned a master’s degree at North Dakota State University. He was a believer in education and encouraged many to follow their dreams and seek higher education no matter their age and no matter their circumstances.
Don struggled with alcoholism until 1991. He maintained sobriety through the date of his death. Next to his children and his marriage to Linda on December 29, 2003, it was his greatest accomplishment. Utilizing his education and experience, he spent countless hours counseling others struggling with substance addictions. He traveled to schools and other public forums throughout North Dakota to tell his story about the grace and redemption of sobriety.
Don found and started his dream job working at the Dunseith Day School in August 1992. He was quickly bestowed the nickname “Big Bear”, a nickname he loved and one that epitomized his love and caring for the children at the Dunseith Day School. Working at the Day School was his life’s calling. He loved working with his coworkers but was especially passionate about working with the children. He wanted to make a difference in the lives of the children and by all accounts, he did so. The outpouring of concern and love from the Dunseith Day School community upon news of Don’s passing has been overwhelming. Don’s family is extremely grateful and appreciative of all the kind words and respect afforded to Big Bear for his work at the Dunseith Day School.
Don is survived by his wife, Linda Berdahl of Minot, ND; sister-in-law Gloria (Bill) Singleton of Florida; “adopted” sisters Cheri (James) Evans of Dunseith, ND and Rose Gottbreht of Barton, ND; brothers Lyle (Lisa) Olson of West Fargo, ND and Robin (Christina) Olson of Walla Walla, WA; children Corey (Stephanie) Olson of Bottineau, ND, Shane (Jennifer) Olson soon to be of Dunseith, ND, Alesha (Josh) Molacek of Callaway, MN, and Amanda Olson of Fargo, ND; stepchildren Stephanie (Charles Lassiter) Baisch, Jennifer ( Guillermo) Martinez, and Jason (Tori) Baisch, each of Texas; nieces Rachel (Jacob) Bly of Walla Walla, WA and Taylor Olson of Manchester, England and Walla Walla, WA; nephew Jesse Olson of Walla Walla, WA; grandchildren Brennen (Crystal) Olson, Riley Olson, Tyler Olson, Emily (Eric) Buteau, Skylar Spessard, Sydney Spessard, Josiah Molacek, Addyx Olson, Isabelle Olson, Bethany Rooney, Donovan Hall, D’Sean Hall, McKayla (Charles Hall) Nichols, Tristen Nichols, Kaci (Cody Dahlinger) Nichols, Susan (Mario) Zormora, Braden White, Jacoby White, Jaxson Baisch and Noah Baisch; and great-grandchildren Anneliese Jean Olson, Zariah Hall, Cai’ra Hall, Zayla Nichols and Isabella Zormora.
Don was preceded in death by his father, Orlin L. Olson; mother, Lorraine Metcalfe Somers; and stepfather, Joseph Somers.
His funeral will be livesteamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq_lbkdL1u8