Samual "Sam" Olson Profile Photo

Samual "Sam" Olson

October 20, 1995 — September 18, 2023


Samual "Sam" Olson


Sam (Samual) Olson, age 27, of Madison died following an accident at home on September 18, 2023. He was born October 20, 1995, in Lancaster, California, the son of Louis and Kathy (Willan) Olson. While he spent less than 3 years in California, he always thought it was cool that he’d been born there. Moving to Madison in August 1998, he would spend the remaining 25 years of his life living in the Emerson East and Eken Park neighborhoods, attending Emerson Elementary and Sherman Middle School, before graduating from Madison East High School in 2014. After high school, he earned an associate degree in visual communications from Madison College. He worked first at Jo-Ann’s on the east side of Madison and then at Menards (first the Madison east store and then the Sun Prairie store). For the last 2 years Sam was a member of Epic’s culinary team.

He enjoyed spending time with his entire family but especially with just his parents, brother Lucas, and sister Erin as a group. Whether it was 2 weeks traveling in Europe as a family, or just meeting up for Sunday lunch, Sam was able to make memories of spending time with his parents and brother and sister.  In fact, the family all had lunch together just hours before Sam died.

Sam was an avid traveler. From his first trip to Disney World as a 7-year-old when he rode everything that he was tall enough to ride, to last year’s family trip to Europe, he was always up for trying new things and exploring new places. Whether it was road tripping to South Dakota with just his parents, fishing in Canada with dad, uncle, and assorted family friends, spending a museum and theater-going weekend in Chicago with just his brother and sister, or going on an extended family cruise with a couple of dozen family members to the Caribbean, he was willing to travel with anybody.  And he was especially up for new experiences while traveling whether it was trying new foods, land-sailing in Bonaire, or seeing a 96-gun salute at Stonehenge in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

While he loved listening to music, he was also an accomplished performer, playing the violin in school orchestras from elementary school through high school. An almost unbeatable opponent at any singing-based video game, he loved singing whether it was on the popular karaoke app Smule or just singing along to the radio.

Sam enjoyed playing video games, watching documentaries, and just chilling. He was fascinated with severe weather and the myriad ways people could be alerted to it. 

Whether it was meeting downtown for dinner or just hanging at somebody’s house watching movies, he especially liked hanging out with his friends, especially Charles, Chris, Garrett, Joe, and Will.

Sam was an avid sports fan. While he was happy to watch his favorite teams play on TV (especially when they were winning) he loved seeing them play in person, especially with his buddy Chris. After watching the Brewers lose every game he’d attended in person, he finally got to see them win in person just a few weeks before his death, and was looking forward to attending his first Packers game before he died a game in which the Packers came back from 17 points down to beat the Saints (we like to think maybe Sam had a hand in the Packers’ come from behind victory).

From his interests in 1960s Cold War and Civil Defense history, 1980s technology (laser discs, Commodore 64 computers, VCRs, and Walkmans), and music of the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s (especially Chicago, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nirvana) it often seemed like Sam was born a couple decades too late but unfortunately is gone too soon.

Sam is survived by his parents Louis and Kathy and siblings Lucas and Erin, all of Madison. He is further survived by his paternal grandma Donna Olson of Reedsburg; maternal grandparents Lyle and Judy Willan of Verona; aunts and uncles Mike and Marie Olson; Roger and Julie Olson; Laura and Keith Rosenau; Susan and David Thomlinson; Mary Brock; Barbara and Neal Block; Thomas and Julia Willan; Karen and Jim Clark; Terry and Carl Dvorak. He is also survived by cousins Jessica Gruber, Nikki (Freeman) Decorah, Derek Rosenau, Elliot Rosenau, Keely (Brelyn) Thomlinson, Jenna (Ben) Ellis, Michelle Brock, Siobhan (Rich) Van Horn, Kaitlyn (David) Biermacher, Brandon Block, Michael (Melissa) Willan, Jeffry (Kelly) Willan, Alyssa (Jeremy) Dvorak, and Max (Kalene) Dvorak. He is further survived by special cousins Ashlyn Brock, Ky Chu, many other extended family members, a number of close friends, and his cat Millie.

He was preceded in death by his cousin Kristen Brock, and his cats Daisy and Rose. He was also preceded in death by his paternal grandpa LaVern Olson who died a year before Sam was born. While they never got the chance to meet one another, we think they would have really gotten a kick out of each other and enjoyed one another’s company.

A remembrance of Sam will be held at Epic (1979 Milky Way) in Verona, WI on October 21st. There will be a visitation starting at 10 AM. The memorial and remembrances will occur at 11 with a luncheon to follow.  The family asks that to best remember Sam, attendees should either wear clothes from their favorite sports teams (especially Sam’s favorites the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks) or a graphic/pop cultural t-shirt (please no formal black).

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his memory to the Dane County Humane Society online at Dane County Humane Society | In Honor or Memorial Gifts ( or via check at DCHS 5132 Voges Road, Madison, WI 53718.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3325 E. Washington Ave.

Madison (608) 249-6666

Past Services


Saturday, October 21, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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