Melvern E. Olson

July 29, 1974-Nov. 6, 2020

Mel E. Olson died on

November 6, 2020 at his

home at Pequaywan Lake,

Duluth, Minnesota.

He was born to Larena

(Volberg) Olson and Orrin

Olson on July 29, 1974 at

Tioga, North Dakota.

Mel married Theresa

Hartley in January 1998.

Two daughters, Abby Olson and Audrey Olson,

were born of this union.

They were later divorced.

Then in April 2008, he

was married to Dawn

(Holte) Larson which added three more children

to the family. Mel became

a single man again when

this marriage ended.

Mel was an avid outdoorsman, even at the age

of 4, when he was always

catching crabs in the English Coulee at Grand

Forks, North Dakota.

Minnesota has been his

home for most of this life.

He especially enjoyed the

Boundary Waters. He took

his girls to the Hunting

Shack where he taught

them to shoot, hunt, fish,

golf and 4 wheel a very

young age. Mel was outgoing and had a fun loving

personality. He enjoyed

competition, among his

friends, striving to bag the

best hunting trophy of the

season. Two of his favorite card games were cribbage and Pinochle.

Mel moved to Duluth

and began Junior High

and continued on to graduate from Duluth Central

High in 1992. There he

gained lifelong friends.

He was on the football

team. Those friends always remember their Jersey numbers! After graduation, he returned to

North Dakota to attend

the North Dakota State

University and graduate

with a Bachelor’s Degree

in Civil Engineering in

May 1997.

Prior to 2012, Mel was

employed in various Engineering positions. One

of his first positions was

head engineer on the

Duluth/North Shore

Sewer Project; St. Louis


Mel started his career at

UPI in 2012 as Vice

President of Construction

before taking over as

President and CEO. He

was instrumental in bringing the Horizontal Directional Drilling Division to

UPI. The culture that Mel

led and curated resulted

in millions of safe

manhours. UPI has received numerous awards

and recognition for safety

under Mel’s leadership,

including APi’s Rob Link

Award for Safety and Loss

Prevention, a Contractor

Safety Excellence Award

from the Pipe Line Contractors Association, and a

special recognition and

2020 Safety Award from


Mel was a loving son,

brother, and father for his

Daughters. He was loved

deeply by family and

friends and he returned

that love in full. Mel always showed up for family occasions no matter

how far the drive. He

loved music, especially

karaoke. He was a great

singer. Many evenings he

ended with his guitar,

singing his favorite songs.

Mel is survived by his

daughters, Abby Olson

and Audrey Olson of

Duluth, mother and stepfather, Larena and Gordon

Lokken, Burlington North

Dakota, sister Melissa

(Jeff) Philipp, Horace,

North Dakota, brother

Mitch Olson, Vergas, Minnesota. And the large extended family of nephews

and nieces, aunts, uncles

and cousins.

He was preceded in

death by his father, Orrin

Olson, brother Monte Olson, stepfather Leon

McGinnity and


Public visitation was

held Thursday, November

12, 2020 from 1:30 – 2:00

PM, followed at 2:00 PM

with the PRIVATE

Memorial Service at

Dougherty Funeral Home.


memorial service will be

held at a later date. Arrangements by Dougherty

Funeral Home, 600 E.

Second St., Duluth,