Hal C. Olson

Jan. 27, 1950―Aug. 26, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Montana artist, Hal C. Olson, was born in Livingston, Montana, to Jean (Burnham) Olson and Richard Louis Olson. 
They later relocated to Billings where his sisters Sally and Jeanne were born. 
Hal graduated from Billings West High in 1968 and briefly attended Montana State University in Bozeman where he met Merry Lee Stout. 
They married in Gallatin Canyon in 1971 and eventually returned to Billings where their daughter Fawn was born. They then moved to Red Lodge where Hal truly felt at home. They later divorced but remained good friends.  
In the 1980’s, Hal welcomed Bonnie “B” Manley and her daughter Laci into his heart, and Hal and B spent over 30 years together.      
Hal’s lifelong passion was art.  He was an accomplished multimedia artist, painting mostly in watercolors and oils, focusing primarily on Montana landscapes and wildlife.  He created many canvases of the Beartooth Mountains and his beloved Rock Creek--embracing the challenge of capturing a stream or a snowbank or light as it washed across the Montana horizon.  His art was shown in galleries across the United States and is still a part of the collection at Carbon County Arts Guild & Depot Gallery in Red Lodge. 
Hal was also a talented housepainter. His ability to painstakingly recreate the intricate and subtle colorations that graced many of the historic homes in Red Lodge was well-known and respected. In more recent years, he expanded his studio in Red Lodge where he created beautiful juniper furniture and carved and painted trout native to Montana.  Hal had a wonderful sense of whimsy which was evident in many of his pieces. 
Hal also was a dedicated Mopar enthusiast and loved his red 1968 Dodge Charger.
Hal recently relocated to Corvallis, Oregon, where he lived with his two sisters and brother-in-law Dan.  He passed away unexpectedly on August 26. Peacefully, but all too soon.  Hal’s spirit will live on through his art and the love of his family.

Hal is lovingly remembered by his daughter Fawn (Brian) Reed, grandson Emmett Reed, sisters Jeanne Olson, Sally (Dan) Edge, and their children Cooper and Annie, and also by Laci (Brent) Johnson and their children Abigail and Evan, Merry Lee Olson, B Manley, and many others.  
Donations in honor of Hal can be made to the Carbon County Arts Guild & Depot Gallery where a retrospective exhibit of his work and a celebration of his life are being planned by the Guild and his family for the summer of 2021, at a date to be announced. 

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