Olga M. Corlett

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Olga Mae Corlett, 88 of McGregor, entered the gates of heaven Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, at Great River Care Center in McGregor. Olga Mae was born April 5, 1932, to Ernest and Sarah Margaret (Halverson) Eggen in McGregor. She was raised in Sny Magill where she attended school before graduating from McGregor High School in 1949. 

Olga was united in marriage with Ralph J. Corlett on Oct. 1, 1949, at First Lutheran Church in McGregor. The two then took over the homestead in Sny Magill where they raised 10 children together. 

“I have had a couple jobs in my life that I’ve gotten paid for. They’ve had to do with things related to homemaking, like cleaning houses, or restaurant work. I have a talent that I use and get paid for sometimes and that is playing the piano or organ. I like to do that so well that I would do that for nothing. I’ve always considered my jobs important though, but probably never realized how important. I had the most important job of all, being responsible for my family.”* 

On most days you would find Olga in her kitchen, kneading bread for her large family, cooking the world’s best pancakes or working on a handmade quilt; her home was always filled with children, whether they be her own or her many grandchildren. She always had a patience for children. They say a grandmother’s house is where memories are made and that certainly rang true for Olga.

On Sundays, Olga would round up as many of her grandchildren she could and head to church. 

“The most important decision I made was whether or not to take the kids to Sunday School. The decision wasn’t hard for me as I did what my family had traditionally done, for it was instilled in me how important religion was in their lives.”*

Olga shared her love of music through the church. Olga was the organist at First Lutheran Church for many years. She had played the piano ever since she could crawl up to it, learning to play by ear. She used her talent to uplift others and spread the gospel. 

Olga was a friend to all. She always had a smile, she was always welcoming, she always had coffee on for those who desired her company. She taught us all to see the true beauty in the smallest things around us. She left countless warm quilts on this earth that provide comfort and hug many people every night. She played music straight from her heart (no sheet needed) and it was clear every single time she did that it gave her true joy to share.  

It was not a surprise that she went to Heaven on Thanksgiving...it’s a gentle reminder to us all to: stop and give thanks for the small beautiful things all around us, to remember the warmth we can give to each other and for the power of a familiar hymn shared and sung. 

Olga is survived by her 10 children, Cathryn (Dennis Brooks) Corlett of Monona, Calvin (Linda) Corlett of McGregor, Mina (Ken) Siewert of Merrill, Wis., Morris Corlett of Prairie du Chien, Wis., Blane (Cheryl K.) Corlett of McGregor, Matt (Cheryl J.) Corlett of Prairie du Chien, Wis., Neil Corlett of McGregor, Kari Dohse of McGregor, Andy (Guenna) Corlett of Garnavillo and Randy Corlett of Prairie du Chien, Wis.; 26 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren and one on the way; three great-great-grandchildren; brother, Robert Eggen of McGregor; and sisters-in-law, Lillian Heaton, Charlotte Corlett and Betty Eggen. Preceding Olga in death were her parents, Ernest and Sarah Eggen; husband, Ralph Corlett in 2016; brother, Merle Eggen; sister, Gertrude Everhart; four grandchildren, Kyle Corlett, Erin Hallberg, Lisette Corlett and Dan Hallberg; and one son-in-law, Paul Dohse. 

A public visitation and funeral will be held at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to First Lutheran Church (Swede Ridge), McGregor. 

Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of McGregor is assisting the family with arrangements.

“I know I made some bad decisions in my life and if I had it to do over again I would sure do it different. I think at the time I knew too but didn’t do anything about it hoping things would work out. If you believe strongly in something, you can’t be wishy washy. ‘Put your heart into it.’ But love, love conquers all.”*

“I believe in God and that, through him, all things are possible, and I try to appreciate all of God’s creation.”* 

*The quoted text is from Olga’s testimony of her life.

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