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Dr. Dale Olson

Dr. Dale Olson, 77, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, formerly of rural Mt. Lake, died May 7, 2019, at UnityPoint Health- Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. Memorial services were May 11 at Cedar Valley Unitarian Universalists Society in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Dale W. Olson was born July 27, 1941, to Fern and David Olson and raised on a farm in Kimball Township of Jackson County. He graduated from Mt. Lake High School in 1958 and earned his doctorate in physics from the University of Rochester in 1970. He served as a professor of physics at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls from 1968 until retiring in 2017. His research focused on holography and optics. During his tenure, Dale enjoyed his research collaborations with students and colleagues. Most recently, he expressed interest in robotics and photovoltaics. A lifelong learner, Dale continuously encouraged others to find joy in learning about science. He also was a vocal advocate for the importance of clean energy. In his personal life, he was proud of his red Tesla, sometimes secretly driving it in sport mode. He also enjoyed and meticulously maintained his solar panels, participated in the Electric Vehicle Drive Days and the Sierra Club and advocated for government changes that would reduce the human impact on climate change. Dale was passionate about the importance of healthy eating and exercise. As a lifelong triathlete, Dale strived to better himself and his split times. He trained year round and was very competitive.

Survivors include his wife, Ann Balm-Olson; his sister, Carmen Jass of Jackson; his sons: Jeff (Lynn) Olson of Snowmass, Colo.; Dustin, Derek and Daniel Balm, all of Cedar Falls, Iowa; daughters, Sara (Chris) Taylor of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Joan Balm (husband Corey) of Cedar Falls, Iowa.