John Olson was a naturally talented artist, creating things ever since he was a young boy, his sons said.
The family has toys he made for himself in the 1930s, including a wooden King Kong with moving arms.
“He was a guy who had a natural talent for art,” said his son, Jeff Olson. “He could make anything with his hands.”
John Olson Sr., 92, of Glen Ellyn, Ill., and formerly of Gary, died June 29. He is preceded in death by his wife, Kate Olson.
He was stationed in Europe during World War II and served as a medic in the 3rd Army under George Patton.
“He made it through the war without a scratch,” said his son, John Olson Jr.
He was a kind and gentle man, even in difficult situations, his son said.
While he was still in Europe after the war, he helped a hungry young German who was being teased by other soldiers.
“He took him into the kitchen and filled a duffle bag of food for him,” he said. “That’s the kind of man he was.”
For 30 years, he worked with Dale Messick as a commercial artist, helping Messick with the Brenda Starr comic strip. Previously, he had his own comic, John West.
“He did all of the artwork, the backgrounds, and Brenda Starr’s hair, but Messick did Brenda herself,” John West said.
He was an excellent father. John West said he has fond memories of his father loading the family into the 1953 Ford and traveling the west.
“He treated us well and brought us up correctly,” he said.