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Melissa Jo Olson, age 44, died peacefully in the arms of her husband on May 4th 2023 at their home in Las Vegas, NV after a courageous battle with cancer. She was happily married and truly cherished her marriage and all her family members. In 2006, Melissa got engaged to Layne Charles Olson inside the Venetian’s “Phantom of the Opera Theater” Las Vegas, NV and Married Layne in 2008 at the Joseph Smith Memorial building in Salt Lake City, UT.
Melissa was born on September 12th 1978 in Goldsboro, North Carolina at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to Patrice Lynn Wienke and Steven Paul Weinke. In 1981, Melissa’s family moved to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia for approximately two years. In 1983 Melissa started pre-school at Edwards Air Force Base in Kern County, California and she completed all her elementary and middle school grades at Edwards AFB. Next, Melissa’s family moved to Andrews Air Force Base and she lived at Andrews AFB for approximately one year and then moved to New Richmond, Wisconsin to live with her grandparents and attend New Richmond High School. Melissa worked part time at the local grocery store and then full time at Westfield Hospital as a nutritionist during her High School years in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Melissa graduated from New Richmond High School in 1997, after graduation she moved to Las Vegas, NV to be by her parents at Nellis Air Force Base. Melissa worked in Las Vegas in retail sales at The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and The Fashion Show Shopping Mall to save money for college. She also worked at The Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, Melissa had a special respect and love for all animals and especially her two dogs “Toby” and “Ringo.” Additionally, Melissa taught Physical Education for the Clark County School District for 15 years.
Melissa continued her education after high school and graduated from Georgia Military College in Warner Robins, Georgia earning an “Associates of Arts” degree from GMC. Additionally, Melissa graduated with honors from American Military University with her “Bachelor of Arts” degree and specialized in “Music History” and “Military History.” She also loved and studied the performing arts extensively, including Music, Dance and Theater. Melissa was a wonderful student throughout college and she truly loved the “Performing Arts” and “History.” Her professors continually praised her academic work and one professor from AMU described Melissa’s educational coursework and senior thesis as “BRILLIANT.”
At the age of three Melissa started Tap and Ballet training, she trained and performed for 13 years. Eventually, Melissa mastered the ballet dance moves of Grand Jete, En Pointe, Pirouettes, Fouette and Grand Adage. Swan Lake is one of Melissa’s favorite Ballet, she loved the fact that it has 32 challenging Fouette’s and some of the most notorious and challenging steps in ballet repertory. Melissa was an avid supporter of The Nevada Ballet Theater, The Smith Center of Performing Arts, and The Las Vegas Philharmonic and truly enjoyed watching all the live performances with her husband and family. Melissa’s love and knowledge of “Music, Dance, Theater and The Performing Arts in general” was truly remarkable.
In her early years Melissa was a member of the girl scouts while at Edwards AFB. In 1989, Melissa was crowned Junior Miss Edwards at the AFB yearly celebration. Over the years Melissa developed a deep respect and love for the US Armed Forces, especially the Air Force where her father worked for 20 years. During that time the family traveled throughout the United States and her father was also deployed to South Korea during her High School years. Melissa learned and understood the sacrifices our military families endure to serve their country. Melissa cherished the fact that she had so many family members that served in the United States Armed Forces, including great grandparents, grandparents, father and other relatives that served in the United States Armed Forces. Melissa was honored and proud of each family member’s service to our country. Being part of a military family growing up gave Melissa many wonderful opportunities to see and experience great things about America and learn about the Air Force. Melissa also developed a deep appreciation at a young age for the essential service of our soldiers and the importance of the United States Armed Forces. Additionally, Melissa cherished and supported the VFW and the military veterans that served America. Melissa, sincerely cared about the fallen soldiers and their American families. Melissa supported and donated to help improve the current veterans and disabled veterans health and welfare issues in America today.
Melissa developed special relationships and bonds with both her grandparents during her High School years in New Richmond, Wisconsin. The bonds grew stronger throughout her life and turned into the beautiful love, respect and admiration Melissa had for her grandparents. Melissa loved them dearly and was truly thankful they helped her develop a spiritual awakening and a deep understanding of Heavenly Fathers “Plan of Salvation” including the belief of Spirituality, Righteousness and Faith. She was also moved by a religious experience she had when her high school friends Laura and Jess invited her to see Billy Graham talk in Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota. The Billy Graham religious experience added to Melissa’s spiritual awakening that was fostered and supported by her grandparents that resonated throughout her life.
Melissa is survived by her husband Layne Charles Olson, children through marriage Bridget V. Olson-Varner and Layne Charles Olson II, parents Patrice and Steven Wienke, grandparents Gloria Linder, and Harold (Katheryne) Jones, aunt Lavonne Wienke and Joe Lado and over 200 additional living family relatives. Melissa is preceded in death by her grandparents Leitha Mae Wienke and Paul Wienke, Marvin Linder and aunt Loreen (Dale) Moe.
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