James R.G. Olson, Dean and Registrar Emeritus at Millikin

James R. G. Olson, 98, passed away on April 19, 2024, in Saint Louis Park, MN. Jim was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1925, the second son of William C. Olson and Alice M. Resberg Olson of Minneapolis. He graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis in 1943 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps while in High School as an Aviation Cadet. He graduated as an Aerial Navigator and completed the Radar Bombardment course before his B-29 crew training in Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1945. The war ended before his scheduled date to fly to Japan. He served in the Air Force Reserves until 1965, retiring at the rank of Major.

He returned to Minnesota after the war, and received his Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in 1948, Master's degree in 1949 and his PhD. in 1965 from the University of Minnesota. He was a full-time Instructor in Economics at the University of Minnesota from 1949 - 1952, and was employed as a Research Analyst at the Minneapolis headquarters of International Milling Company from 1953 - 1958.

Jim married Geraldine Laird of Des Moines, Iowa in 1958 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Later that year, they moved to Champaign, Illinois, where he took a position as an Assistant Professor of Business Management at the University of Illinois. The family moved to Decatur, Illinois in 1965 when he was appointed Dean of the School of Business and Industrial Management at Millikin University in Decatur. Jim retired as the Registrar of Millikin University in June 1987. He was a member of the American Economic Association, the American Political Science Association and the National Tax Association.

While in Decatur, he served his community in many ways including:

- Member of the Rotary Club
- Member of The Golden K Kiwanis Club
- Advisory board member of the Salvation Army
- Vice Chairman of the Decatur Civic Center Board
- Served on the Decatur school integration committee
- Served a term as moderator of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ and as clerk of the Session of the First Presbyterian Church

To view the complete obituary, visit

James Olson Obituary (1925 - 2024) - Minnetonka, IL - Decatur Herald & Review (legacy.com)