Our Local Roots

Our Local Roots

Olson Funeral and Cremation Services has been serving Rockford, Sycamore, Kirkland, and Genoa area families for years. We are honored to be a part of the rich history of this community and plan to be a part of it for many years to come.

One of the early funeral directors in Rockford was named Ugarf who was assisted by a young farmer from New Milford, Illinois by the name of Nels Olson. Nels had immigrated to the United States from Skane, Sweden in 1868. Mr. Ugarf became very close to Nels Olson and in the early part of 1888, Mr. Ugarf’s health failed and he asked Nels to move to Rockford. On February 1, 1888, the Olson Family moved to Rockford, where Nels began working full time as a funeral director.

Nels Olson had two sons who split the business into Olson Undertaking, owned by Vern Olson, and Fred C. Olson Mortuary, owned by Fred C. Olson Sr. Vern’s part of the business did not survive very long. Fred Sr. built the facility on Second Avenue in 1929. In 1935, Fred C. Olson Jr. joined his father. Fred Sr. remained active in the business until the early 1970's. Fred Jr. remained active until 1987. Fred C. Olson III planned to join the family business in the summer of 1963, but, with his sister, was killed in a commercial airline accident on February 12, 1963. Bruce W. Olson joined the business in June of 1966 following his graduation from the University of Minnesota. Bruce is the fourth generation of Olson’s in the business. In 1971, the business was incorporated.

During the 1970's and 1980's the business saw very strong growth, and in 1994, opened a second facility at 2811 North Main Street. In 2000 Bruce Olson’s son, Scott Olson joined the business as the fifth generation of Olson’s, furthering a legacy as the oldest continually operated business in the area. In 2004, Brad Wood of Burpee-Wood Funeral Home approached Bruce and Scott to see if a merger was a possibility. That merger was complete in January of 2005 when Brad Wood retired and the Olson’s continued to provide the same high level of care to the client families of Burpee-Wood. In October of 2008, the Olson family expanded the area that it serves by acquiring Quiram Funeral Directors in Sycamore, Genoa, and Kirkland thereby continuing another legacy of family ownership in DeKalb County.

Olson Funeral & Cremation Services prides itself in providing excellence in service and value to the families that we serve, having an active pre-planning division, and an active aftercare program.



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Olson Funeral Celebrates 125 Years-Northwest Quarterly Article

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