Life Lessons, is a 2019 project highlighting the life and times of Wisconsin Seventh-day Adventist Church members who are 90 years of age or older, and still actively serving and loving Jesus
Lucille Olsen was born December 17, 1919. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday with amazing good health, a clear mind, and surrounded by 60 children, grandchildren, and close family. She currently lives with her daughter, Lois, and husband, Bernie, in Milton, Wisconsin.
Lucille, oldest of 12 children, grew up in Grant County on her grandfather’s dairy farm. She fondly remembers her father yodeling each morning long before daylight while out in the barn doing chores. A few times the neighbors would come over and say, “I wish you wouldn’t yodel so loud, I hear you clear over at my farm, and you wake us up.” But Lucille liked his singing, and learned to yodel like her father, which she can still do today.;
Feeding a family of 14 kept Lucille’s father busy and he never felt he had time for church, but he regarded it highly, and always urged his children to attend. He was known and trusted in his community as an honest man you could count on.
While still a young girl, Lucille had to leave home and live with her aunt, helping with housework, gardening, and caring for their two boys. Her aunt was a Seventh-day Adventist and saw to it that Lucille always attended church with them. When it came time for high school, she sent Lucille to attend Bethel Academy. “If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have been able to attend either an Adventist church or school,” said Lucille. While in her junior year, she remembers having Bible studies with the academy pastor and deciding to be baptized.
Attending the Oakland Seventh-day Adventist Church with her aunt’s family is where Lucille met her future husband, Melvin. They were married at the age of 18. Melvin often told Lucille, “When I was out harvesting in the fields I prayed daily God would send me a good wife, and he sent me you!”
“All the other guys I knew in town drank, and weren’t interested in Jesus or getting involved with church, said Lucille. “Several of my friends tried to discourage me from dating Melvin, but it seemed the Lord was telling me Melvin was the one, as he was a good Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Now I know he was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Melvin and Lucille farmed for many years while raising their two girls, Lois and Joy. Later they ran a warehouse, packaging and hauling potatoes. Lucille remembers pulling the heavy 100-pound bags of potatoes, and sometimes driving them to stores in some nasty winter weather. While it was exhausting, she always found enjoyment in doing physical work.
Lucille loves her Oakland Church, and played the organ there for many years. She also served as church secretary, and helped teach the teen Sabbath School class. She and her husband often sang for events, and even at age 99, Lucille sang “In Times Like These, You Need a Savior,” as a duet with her sister for special music. “I love to sing hymns,” smiles Lucille. “We did a lot of singing together.”
Through the years Melvin and Lucille prayerfully tried to share Jesus with Lucille’s family. They took their nieces and nephews to church when they could, and encouraged them to attend Wisconsin Academy. Three became Adventists. Then one happy day Lucille’s father, at the age of 80, gave his heart to the Lord and was baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Lucille’s only wish is that more of her brothers and sisters would have joined the church.“Church is my favorite place,” says Lucille.
Every morning Lucille likes to rise early, spend time with Jesus and her Bible, and watch the sun come up through her window. She writes three-four letters a week, does her own laundry, and fixes her own meals. Most days she goes outside, even in winter, to breath the fresh air and hear the birds sing. “God’s been good to me,” says Lucille, “I can be stubborn, but God’s managed to bring me through. I need to take time to worship Him more. I love that song that says, Never give up, Jesus is coming!”
Music strikes a chord of gladness in Lucille’s heart. “I never thought I’d get to be 100 years old,” smiles, Lucille. “But every day He gives me breath, I’ll continue to sing of His amazing goodness to me.”
Juanita Edge, Communication Director