Rev. Arthur J. Olsen, 53, was born into life on September 24, 1964 and born into eternity on October 16, 2017. He was a dear son of Arthur J. Olsen, Sr. and the late Cecilia M. Olsen (nee Jastrem); a loving brother of Lori (Scott) Baker, Erik (Deborah), John (Allyson), and Chris (Katrisha); a fun-loving and wonderfully-supportive uncle of Wyatt, Caroline, Alexander, Andrew, Jack, Avery, Brynn, and Axton; a loving Godfather of Caroline Olsen; a fond and loyal friend to many; and a warm-hearted, loving, and inspirational Priest.
Art attended Divine Infant catholic grammar school in Westchester, IL (where he was an altar server and played in the CYO band), Proviso West High School in Hillside, IL (where he was a member of the band and chess team), and Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (where he lived in Shepard, majored in Journalism and excelled in marching band). While in the Northwestern marching band, he became the first Band Geek (Geekus Primus, as he preferred to be called) recognized for unparalleled spirit and commitment, a highly sought-after award among band members.
After graduating from Northwestern, he was a beat reporter for the Press Enterprise newspaper based in Bloomsburg, PA. He was particularly proud of his work exposing the financial mismanagement at the local Easter Seals, and that a Councilman credited Art’s reporting with ending his political career.
During a midnight mass in Bloomsburg, he received a calling to serve Christ, a calling he passionately pursued. He attended the University of St. Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary and was ordained a priest on May 22, 1999. Following his ordination, he served many parishioners as associate pastor for St. John Brebeuf Parish, (Niles, IL), St. Mary Parish (Lake Forest, IL), St. Hilary Parish (Chicago, IL), and St. Emily Parish (Mount Prospect, IL). He was also a proud member of the Knights of Columbus (Fourth Degree).
His passion for serving Christ was not his only passion. He loved his family and his friends dearly. His love for marching band resulted in his joining the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corp. and the Northwestern University Marching Band Alumni band (NUMBAlums). He performed with his fellow NUMBAlums at many NU football games and homecoming celebrations over the years. Also, for years his legendary character Lord Tyrvar the Unyielding battled side-by-side with his fellow Mountain Confederation warriors, a group of people who role-played medieval battles as a part of the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA).
Art was also passionate about rooting for and supporting his sports teams, including the Northwestern Wildcats, the Bears, the White Sox and the Blackhawks.
His travels took him far and near, including favorite trips to England, Ireland, Poland, and China, as well as the Music Box Theater and many jazz clubs throughout Chicago.
Among many things, Art will be remembered for his wit, charm and considerable intellect; his enthusiastic and energetic cheers and wildcat growls at Northwestern Football games, his fierce and loyal fighting with the Mountain Confederation; his impactful homilies as a priest; his service to others; his deep friendships; and his passion for leading children toward Christ. Rest in peace, Art.

Leave a Reply