By Samar Fay
Courier Editor 

Benchmark Moment

Nemont Resident Gordon Olson Saves Martha Luck Memorial Bench


Samar Fay / The Courier

Gordon Olson, right, sits on the memorial bench at Nemont Manor that he repaired with the help of Nemont’s maintenance person, Jeff Roberton, at left. The bench was given in memory of Martha Luck by the family of her sister, Olga Koskey, and friends.

Everybody at Nemont Manor enjoyed the comfortable wooden bench at the end of the sidewalk, but it was getting weathered. People were afraid it would fall apart, and that was a shame, since it was a memorial to a resident, Martha Luck. Gordon Olson, a Nemont Manor resident since 2007, decided to rescue the bench.

Olson disassembled the wooden slats from the iron sides. The Manor’s maintenance man, Jeff Roberton, cut oak for the new slats, which Olson sanded, stained and mounted back onto the iron sides. The brass memorial plate was brought back to a high shine by Baker’s Jewelry.

At nearly 93, Olson seems to have energy to spare. He runs the exercise program at Nemont Manor and at the Glasgow Senior Citizen Center too. He sets up the chairs for exercise and for the bingo games.

The bench represents a chain of family connections at Nemont Manor. Martha Opsahl Luck and her sister, Olga Koskey, were both residents there. According to Koskey’s daughter, Julie Olson (no relation to Gordon Olson), Martha Luck was born in Tampico around 1915. She was a very artistic lady who built a beautiful rock garden on her farm and raised flowers. She and her husband never had any children. He died before she did. When she had a stroke, she came to Nemont and died a few years later.

Her sister’s family and some friends donated the bench, although exactly when is not known, because there is no date on the brass plate. Roberton said he has been at Nemont for 16 years and it was there before he came.

Luck’s niece, Julie Olson, now lives in Mandan, N.D., but her daughter in Glasgow, Patty Long, still comes to Nemont Manor and helps residents.

“She’s another part of the generational family,” said Char Arneson of the Nemont Manor staff. “We know where she comes from.

“It’s special that this bench is part of the Nemont family, residents and extended family. They didn’t just buy a new bench. This generation of people grew up in the ‘Don’t throw away’ era when they made things to last. This disposable world drives them nuts.”


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