|Olga Christina Lofgren Boone
Published in Toledo Blade from January 13 to January 20, 2013
Olga Christina Boone, 104, slipped the bonds of this
earth on January 10, 2013, as her loving family sang
hymns by her bedside in her home in Sylvania. "Inspiring"
is the word most often used to describe Olga, a teacher,
dancer, world traveler, public speaker and storyteller
known and loved for her zest for life and generosity of
Olga moved to Sylvania when she was 88 and soon
resumed an active professional life of presenting
workshops, inspirational talks and storytelling. She
delighted audiences at nursing homes, churches, libraries and Lourdes
University. She received a standing ovation as the keynote speaker at the
annual gathering of the Area Office of Aging when she was 101, and gave
the welcoming remarks to the same group the following year, again sharing
the platform with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. That year she also
received accolades for performing an exhibition waltz at the Sylvania Spring
Fling Senior Expo.
Olga was born in Minneapolis on September 28, 1908, to Swedish
immigrants, Gustaf and Ellen Lofgren, in 1908. They loved this country and
believed strongly in education. Their hard work made it possible for Olga to
graduate from Central High School in Washington, DC and then attain a
B.P.E. in Physical Education from Marjorie Webster College, a B.S. from
the University of Maryland in Education, and then an M.A. - all during the
years of the Depression. And, in the midst of her educational pursuits, she
also became Miss Maryland!
Most of Olga's life was spent in the Washington, D.C. area where she raised
her family and pursued her professional careers. Olga taught others all her
life, from pre-school through college, from Sidwell Friends private school
where U.S President's children have attended, to a detention home for girls,
to congressional wives, to Sunday School; and subjects from Dancing to
Etiquette to English-as-a-Second Language to Speech. She retired from
Washington D.C. public schools as a Speech Pathologist in 1977.
Later that year she moved to Jekyll Island, Georgia. Her involvement with
the Brunswick GA Library led to her beginning a new career as a storyteller.
Her portrayals included Eleanor Roosevelt (whom she met while in college),
Susanna Wesley, and Mrs. Claus. Olga felt a close bond to libraries; she had
typed her Master's thesis on a typewriter at the D.C. Public Library in 1936
(for 10 cents an hour). She was a member of Friends of the Library in
Georgia and Toledo, and donated a Bookmobile to the Brunswick Library.
Physically active all her life, she taught exercise to seniors at the Sea Island
Cloister into her late 80's.
Olga loved dancing. As a young woman, she danced on the stage in
Washington D.C. at the Fox Theatre and led her own troupe, the Olga
Lofgren Dancers. A hip replacement at the age of 88 did not deter her; she
resumed ballroom dancing and performed locally on various stages until she
was 102, including for the Perrysburg Public Library fundraiser.
Throughout her life, Olga greeted each new adventure with openness and
enthusiasm- whether teaching inner city children, or gathering family
members together in Sweden, or exchanging gifts with a member of the
Maasai whom she met while on an African safari, or falling off a camel
during a visit to the Middle East. Olga found something praiseworthy in
everyone she met, brightening their lives.
Even when dying, she taught us grace and elegance and love for God and
for other people. She uplifted the spirits of her medical caregivers with her
humor, joie de vivre, and kindness. Her last words to her family were a
reminder "to love other people, to be kind, and to forgive."
Olga Christina was preceded in death by her husband, James D. Boone, a
violinist whom she had met when they jointly presented musical programs at
nursing homes and other venues. She is survived by daughters, Ellen
Christina Boone and Julia Boone Lee of Florida, and by granddaughters,
Anna Christina Bahow of Chicago, Karen Bahow of St. Louis, and Meg
(Chas) McBrien of Wilkes-Barre.
The family expresses gratitude to caregivers from Visiting Angels, especially
Barbara with whom Olga shared many projects and even more laughs, to
her kind neighbors, and to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Olga Christina Boone
scholarship fund at Lourdes University or to Monroe Street Methodist
service to celebrate Olga's amazing life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday,
January 26 at Monroe St. Methodist Church. There will be a harpist and
Arrangements entrusted to Ansberg-West Funeral Home directors.
Condolences may be left for Olga's family by visiting