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James-Dean "JD" Benedict Olson


August 31, 2022

James-Dean "JD" Benedict Olson

Our Lord has made one final line-up change and has placed our JD as the leadoff hitter on Heaven’s Baseball Team. James-Dean “JD” Benedict Olson of Sparta was tragically taken from us on Thursday, August 25, 2022 at the young age of 16. He was born in Sparta on February 15, 2006, to James and Julie Olson; he was one of the last babies born at the Sparta Hospital.

He lived his entire life in the Leon area with his family and big sister, Caroline. From a young age, he always wanted to do things at the family farm in Cannon Valley, near Portland and carry on the family tradition at the Century Farm. He was always there helping his dad or having his friends help him get ready for deer hunting; especially bow hunting. He was always shooting at his target outside the house with his brand-new “V3X” Mathews bow, sometimes late at night startling his neighbors. And if one of his friends needed a place to hunt, JD would always help out. He was getting his combine ready to start harvesting soybeans and corn this Fall.

He was destined to play baseball. He played on the Sparta Baseball Club team for several years before entering high school. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his Great-Uncle, Dave Benedict, who played minor league ball with Mickey Mantle, his son, Bruce Benedict, that was a Catcher for the Atlanta Braves and his son, Griffen Benedict, that was a catcher for the San Diego Padres and is now the hitting coach for the Iowa Cubs. He was always working to improve himself, hitting buckets of baseballs in the garage or lifting weights, he never took a day off. He was the starting catcher for the Sparta Spartans as a Freshman and Sophomore, ending the 2022 season with a .407 batting average. He was always there in the clutch for his team; he played in the 2022 regional playoff game in Galesville with a broken foot. He was especially proud of being the catcher for Patrick Frisk’s one hit pitching performance in Mauston and being the starting catcher for the 2021 Regional Championship win against West Salem.

He also had a passion for football and basketball. He lettered in football during the 2021 season as the long-snapper and was selected as the Special Teams Player of the Week. He was so ready for this season to start, so he could play on the new turf field as the starting tight end. He used to call himself “OBJ” because he could catch any ball that was thrown his way. JD wasn’t the best basketball shooter, but he knew how to get a rebound. He was looking forward to playing this upcoming season.

When his family spoke to him about being a leader for the teams he played on, he always told us that he didn’t need to say anything to anyone, but he wanted his actions to speak for his words. JD was always there to lend a hand or lighten the situation by cracking a joke. He always made everyone feel at ease and relaxed. He wanted to be a role model for the younger kids, and always was willing to lend them a hand. He was destined to do great things.

When his sister came back from college and started working this past summer, JD asked if he could start working so he could earn money to buy some more hunting gear or a diesel truck. His family wasn’t sure what would be a good fit for him, so he began working for his neighbor at Riverside Produce. He was there as much as he could, driving machinery, picking up seed or getting sweet corn ready. You could always see him there with a big smile on his face.

He is survived by his loving family that will miss him dearly; his mother Julie, father Jim and sister Caroline, his special friend Macey Oswald, his beloved dog Lena, his grandfather Dean Benedict, his aunt Lori Volden, cousin Jens Volden, great aunt Joyce Johnson, great aunt Jane Chapiewsky, great aunt Beverly Laufenberg and many other friends and relatives.

JD was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Jim and Joan Olson, and his maternal grandmother, Marlene Benedict.

We’d like to express our appreciation for everyone that has helped us through this extremely difficult and challenging time. Our lives will never be the same without JD, but we will need to support each other as JD shines a bright light of hope on us every day. We are especially grateful for the support provided by Mike and Suzy Ziebell, Stefhanie and John Greenwell, Lori and Jens Volden, Arnie and Beth Rettler, and Eric and Becky Walley, and all the friends and family visited and provided some much-needed emotional support.

We are so thankful for all the amazing friends JD had and learning more about him that we never knew. It’s truly amazing to know that he touched so many people in positive ways; this has provided his family with a sense of peace. JD had been so excited and upbeat the last few months because of his newfound friendship with Macey; she made him so happy, and he always had a smile on his face.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church starting at 11:00 a.m. Gatherers are encouraged to wear Spartan gear or Red and Gold as JD was proud to be a Sparta Spartan. The service will start at 3:00 p.m., after the service the family is inviting JD’s friends and family to the Sparta American Legion for a time of remembrance and light lunch. In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made out to the “JD Olson Fund” at Citizens State Bank in Sparta.

To everyone JD was a great friend but to his family he was our everything.

Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.


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