From the St. Croix Valley Foundation:
Mitzi Olson, a colorful personality and longtime Afton resident, who had a successful career in show business and an equally successful business in Minnesota, left her home and an 18.5 acre property to the St. Croix Valley Foundation in November.
The home, on Coulee Ridge Road in Afton, was designed and built in 1971 by respected Valley architect Mike McGuire. The home and its 7-acre plot was recently sold to a family from the Twin Cities. Another 11.5 acre lot on a hill overlooking the home was sold to a neighbor whose land abuts it.
Olson, a formally trained dancer who, with her husband, helped develop the Ramsey County community of Landfall, died in May 2012 from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 82.
She was born Mitzi Hunter in Chicago in 1930, where she trained as a professional dancer. Her career suffered a setback while touring in Europe, when she fell on a slanted stage and injured her back. She was invited to pursue a career in film, but Mitzi’s mother objected, so she studied drama at Macalester College in St. Paul. There she met Jim Olson, and the two wed in 1951.
“We were delighted…and surprised…to receive this wonderful gift,” said foundation president Jane Hetland Stevenson. The Board of the St. Croix Valley Foundation plans to put the proceeds from the sale of the home and property into their Unrestricted Fund. “This fund,” said Stevenson, “will provide the kind of flexibility to take care of needs in the Valley that are not being filled, now and in the future.”
The St. Croix Valley Foundation was established in 1996 and currently serves Washington and Chisago Counties in Minnesota and Pierce, Polk, St. Croix and Burnett Counties in Wisconsin. It has ten affiliated foundations that operate locally in Prescott, Hudson, River Falls, New Richmond, Somerset, Amery and the Frederic area in Wisconsin, and the Lower St. Croix, the Stillwater area and the Chisago Lakes area in Minnesota.