Idaho Falls has lost a great community leader and volunteer. Sheila Olsen passed away Sunday, February 11 in Idaho Falls.
Olsen was a well know name in local volunteerism and active to the end. Her son, Nathan (one of ten children) said she was just reappointed two weeks ago to the Idaho Human Rights Council. That was just one of many organizations she was involved with.
Five years ago, Local News 8’s Jay Hildebrandt did a special report on Olsen for his “Great Neighbors” series.
Here’s that report.
We begin our series with a woman who understands the importance of volunteering for good causes because she has been a part of so many of them, Sheila Olsen.
She is a familiar face in eastern Idaho volunteerism.
“I believe one of the defining characters of Idaho Falls is the spirit of volunteerism and it spreads across all people,” Sheila says.
Sheila should know. As a widow with multiple sclerosis, Sheila fills her time leading and serving on boards and committees. From the Idaho Commission on Human Rights, to the Development Workshop, to the Mayor’s Committee on Race Relations to the Interfaith Community Service Project, Sheila donates her time and energy.
“I think one of the things I have enjoyed as much as anything I have done are the interfaith, interracial boards that I have been on, and I would say if I had any great desire it would be to build bridges between people of different faiths and races and cultures and backgrounds and neighbors,” Sheila says.
A devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sheila loves working with those of strong faith from other religions.
“The people I worked the closest with are those who also feel very strongly about their faith, which is different than mine, and there’s something about that where we just implicitly agree to disagree,’ Sheila says. “So you see people of great belief who believe in a god also believe in a brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind and they bring a spirit with them.”
And although M.S. means Sheila’s mobility is diminished, her opportunities to serve have not.
“There is a place for anyone to serve and that’s been my case – it brings me great joy to serve in a meaningful way,” Sheila says.
Funeral services will be at the LDS Stonehaven Ward, 2055 Coronado in Idaho Falls at 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 19.
Visitations will be held Saturday, February 17 at Wood Funeral Home at 273 North Ridge in Idaho Falls from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Sunday, February 18 at Wood Funeral Home Eastside at 963 South Ammon Road from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Monday at the church before the service from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.