David Olson. Contributed photo

The Valley loses one of its biggest hearts

David Olson died in early November, but his legacy of dedicated community service lives on.

By all accounts, the Snoqualmie valley lost one of its most service-minded residents when David Olson passed away on Nov. 6.

Olson, 66, is remembered by those who knew him as a service-driven man who — though he dedicated much of his time to volunteering with his church, his old high school and the food bank — never sought out recognition for himself.

The sense of loss from the community at the news of Olson’s death was expressed in a document compiled by the Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis club. It contains pages of anecdotes from those who knew him.

“David Olson was a good man with a heart of gold who had a huge impact throughout the Snoqualmie Valley,” one commenter wrote.

One entry reminisces about a time when someone needed a t-shirt during a service project, and Olson took his off and offered it to them.

“The Snoqualmie Valley is diminished by his loss, but his spirit will always be with us,” wrote Mark Hennig, director of the Night on a Dark Trail event. “Those of us who knew him are all better persons for having worked with him.”

David Olson. Contributed photo

Olson volunteered at the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. He opened and closed the North Bend Community Church every week. He volunteered for the Night on a Dark Trail event year after year. He was the Kiwanis advisor for the Mt. Si High School Key Club. And he faithfully showed up to every North Bend City Council meeting.

During the city council’s Nov. 17 meeting, council members took time remembering Olson. They recounted how he was always the first person to walk up and shake their hands before each meeting.

And at the food bank, Olson came in every Monday and Tuesday to lend a hand. He took inventory, did heavy lifting as he moved 50 lb bags of potatoes and onions, and cleaned up and stocked shelves. He would also carefully organize the storage shed, and knew what was in stock by memory.

When the coronavirus pandemic made it unsafe for Olson to keep volunteering, he would still stop in to check on the food bank, wrote An Wynants, operations manager for the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, on the compilation document.

“He was so worried about everybody else, that he didn’t need much for himself. He was happy with little things: a good book, his bible, a friendly word, and a good hug when he felt a little down,” Wynants wrote.

Olson was born on March 8, 1954 in Bellingham. Shortly after, his family moved to North Bend, where he grew up and spent his life.

David Olson. Contributed photo

His sister, Judy Tamigniaux, said North Bend was where he wanted to be — his home and community.

“He had a lot of friends. We had family friends,” she said. “North Bend has always been a nice, small town community where you know your neighbors and they look out for each other.”

Tamigniaux remembers growing up with her brother, going to youth group and singing in choir. She eventually moved out of the valley, but Olson stayed.

He helped their father when he was battling cancer, and continued much of the community service their father had done, after he died.

Olson was born with a low birth weight which led to some developmental disabilities. But he never let that limit him.

Harold Erland, with the North Bend Community Church and Kiwanis club, knew Olson his whole life. His parents were good friends with Olson’s parents, and as they grew older, they ended up working together at the church and the club.

“He was just an integral part of anything he got involved in,” Erland said. “He was the kind of person you wouldn’t know was doing all the things he was doing, unless you knew him… he’s the most unforgettable person I’ve ever met.”

But despite Olson’s dedication to community service, and his admiration from those who worked with him, he was remembered as someone who didn’t seek recognition.

“I love the word ‘humble’ that was used,” wrote one person on Olson’s memorial document. “He never sought recognition for himself but worked in the background simply doing what needed to be done. I’m feeling like James 4:10 fits David – ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.’ I’m sure his humble spirits is being exalted as he joins his family in heaven now.”

Still, those in the valley did take notice. He was awarded the 2011 Community Spirit Award by the city of North Bend, and the Unsung HeroSpirit of the Valley award in 2015.

A memorial service for friends and family will be held in the future, when it’s safe to congregate again, his sister said.

“I’m very grateful to the people of North Bend and the community for being a part of his life, and all the things that they gave to him,” Tamigniaux said.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

David Olson. Contributed photo

More in News

West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology.
EPA loans King County $96.8 million to prevent untreated water from spilling into Puget Sound

Loan comes a week after an over 10 million gallon overflow into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

Chief Andy De Los Angeles. Courtesy photo
Chief Andy De Los Angeles of the Snoqualmie Tribe has died

Chief Andy De Los Angeles of the Snoqualmie Tribe has died today.… Continue reading

National Guard troops, pictured Jan. 11 at the state Capitol in Olympia, have been on standby in case of violent protests. (Photo by Roger Harnack, Cheney Free Press)
At the state Capitol, a quiet day amid heightened security

There were no protests or arrests as troopers patrolled and the National Guard assumed a lower profile.

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of the Northwest Railway Museum
Northwest Railway Museum: Train rides and shed update

The Northwest Railway Museum is happy to announce that winter train rides… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Most Read