Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Johanna Olson


“The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.” This quote embodied how Johanna Olson lived her life. Johanna loved to share her passion for running and life. She connected with, and inspired, many people in her roles as coach, teacher, friend and mentor.

Johanna was a runner and a fighter, battling brain cancer for more than 15 years before her fight ended Jan. 3, 2013, at age 33. 

Johanna had all the best qualities desired in a friend, sister, teammate and daughter. She was vibrant, smart, courageous, encouraging, positive, funny, tough and inspiring.

Johanna grew up in Wadena, Minn., with her parents, Jane Bagstad and Terry Olson, and sister, Marney. At an early age, Johanna started running and never looked back. Prior to being diagnosed with a brain tumor as a college freshman, Johanna was already an accomplished runner. She won the Division III cross-country championship in 2000, three years to the day after her initial brain surgery. A seven-time all-American, Johanna qualified to run the Olympic trials marathon in 2004 and 2008.

Johanna graduated from Luther College in 2001 and earned a master’s degree from Oregon State. Johanna went on to work as an exercise physiologist at Central Oregon Community College in Bend.  

Johanna was an amazing runner, but one of her proudest moments wasn’t her fastest time. It was crossing the finish line at the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2012 with “Team Joha” despite undergoing treatment for the recurrence of her brain tumor. Her dedication and perseverance cannot be matched. 

Johanna loved her family and friends, living out West, running in the mountains and helping others accomplish their dreams. Johanna could light up a room faster than she could light up a running race—and that’s fast! Johanna left many footprints along the running trails, but even more on the lives of those she met. She will be missed but never forgotten.

A celebration of life will be held Jan. 19 from 1-5 p.m. with a 2 p.m. service at Hamline University’s Klas Center, 1537 Taylor Ave.. St. Paul, Minn. A Bend memorial will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Johanna Olson Fund, OnPoint Credit Union, 950 NW Bond St. Bend, OR 97701-2706 or Partners in Care Hospice, 2075 NE Wyatt Court, Bend, OR 97701.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.