Community lost a re-founder with Oleson’s death
Eudora has its founders, those who 150 years ago made a new life at the confluence to the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers. But every generation it has what could rightly be called re-founders, citizens whose contribution is so consequential they help redefine the community.
Eudora lost one of those last week with the death of Alf "Ole" Oleson. With his bow ties and background as a self-made man, Oleson seemed as much a part of another time as the full-service drug store he took over in Eudora six decades ago, which was not only equipped with the then-customary soda fountain, but also served as something of a eclectic general store of Eudora's hard-to-get needs. The druggist's constant courtesy and openness would have seemed from another era as well if not for in-the-moment interest he took in the person he was addressing.
His successor as Eudora's pharmacist, Stan Bryne, defined Oleson as a "character," a description given people who follow inner directions that put them somewhat aside from his neighbors. Oleson had the self-assurance to do that, but he never saw himself as apart from his fellow Eudorans, as his membership in the Lions Club, school board, and role in attracting fellow community health service mainstay Kenneth Holladay attests.
Finally, it was Oleson's distress at the community's elders taking leave to retirement and care centers in other cities that led him to play a key role in the founding of the Eudora Nursing Center. It continued to be dear to him until his death. He took continued interest in its residents, looking for reasons to make visits to the center. In so doing, he leaves a lasting and fitting memorial that will continue to give to Eudora.
Eudora mourns the loss of such a caring and unique citizen but celebrates his example of a life well-lived.