James “Jim” Lynn Olsen

James “Jim” Lynn Olsen

Madison – James Lynn “Jim” Osen, age 82, died peacefully on Sunday, August 6, 2017, with his loving family at his side. He was born on November 18, 1934 in Anita, Iowa, the son of John and Irene Osen.

He grew up in Plymouth, Michigan and following his high school graduation, he attended Western Michigan University on a full scholarship awarded by the Henry Ford Foundation. From 1956 to 1957 he studied at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, later returning to the U.S. where he attended graduate school at the University of Michigan. There he met Meta, his wife of 58 years and the love of his life. Jim received his Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1958.

1958 and 1959 found Jim teaching English Literature at Lincoln Park High School in Lincoln Park, Michigan. On March 21, 1959 Jim and Meta were married in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Jim began his military service with the Air National Guard in 1959.

Jim received his PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1966. He had begun his 37 year teaching career at Beloit College in Beloit, WI in 1962. There he taught a wide array of courses, ranging from the French Revolution and Napoleon to Ancient Greece and Rome, to Academic Writing. Jim’s 15 years of research for his book entitled “Prophet and Peacemaker, the Life of Adolpe Monod,” took Jim and Meta to 17 countries and around the globe – and allowed his sons John and Andrew to spend great parts of their childhood living in London, Paris and Chicago.

He became a Faculty Fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago from 1967 to 1968. He was named one of the Outstanding Educators in America in 1972. Jim published numerous books and articles, and always relished conducting the research required in these endeavors. Jim also held the Russel Corlis Endowed Chair in History at Beloit College.

The town of Ontonagon, Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior, held a special place in Jim’s heart. 30 years ago, he and Meta built a summer home on the lake and enjoyed being part of a close-knit Beloit College community whose families spent their summers there for generations. His grandsons’ annual visits to see Grandma and Grandpa “up north” were the highlight of his year.

Jim’s grandchildren were the light of his life. Along with Meta, he delighted in attending their many school activities, from a wide variety of sports to band and chorus concerts and school plays. Nothing brought him greater joy than spending time with his grandsons.

Jim was a voracious reader, often reading two hardcover books per week. He loved watching the Packers, and especially enjoyed watching Badger football and basketball.

Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Meta; his sons, John (Soumaya) of Atlanta, GA and Andrew (Jacson) of Madison, WI; grandchildren, Nicholas, Noah and Sean; godson, Grant Beardsley; and loving daughter, Andrea Adamany Mann.

He will be remembered as well, with admiration and affection, by the countless students whose lives he touched over the years.

A Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at ST. DUNSTAN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 6205 University Avenue, Madison.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Beloit College, Library Memorial Fund, 700 College Street, Beloit, WI 53511; or the Odyssey Project, Inc., mailed to: Emily Auerbach, Odyssey Project, 21 N. Park Street Room 7468, Madison, WI 53715.