GALESVILLE, Wis. (WBKT) - When students return for the year, long-time science teacher Brady Olson will not.
The Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau community is mourning the loss of a beloved teacher, husband and father.
Olson, 47, of the town of Ettrick, died in a farming accident last week. He is survived by his wife, Elise, and two teenage daughters.
Olson graduated from G-E-T high school, then came back to teach science, working in the district for more than 20 years.
"The things that stick out to me are the conversations we had in hallways between classes, whether sharing a story or talking about politics or sports; he was so knowledgeable about everything,” Superintendent Aaron Engel said.
The hallways are empty the day before school starts at G-E-T High, echoing the feeling that something is missing.
“That spirit. That vision for the future,” Engel said.
"He just loved his students,” Elise Olson said. “He always had a vision of how to serve them best."
"That vision is something we're going to have to find after he's gone,” Engel said. “He had an impact beyond what any other teacher in our district has had on staff.”
"He's kind of bigger than life, his personality, and (so was) his heart,” Elise said.
She will never forget the day she met Brady.
"He said, 'Hi I'm Brady.' I said to myself, 'I'm going to marry him,’” she said.
So they shared their lives together and had two daughters.
"He was a hands-on father and a father that would hug and kiss his girls a lot, which I'm so thankful for,” Elise said.
Elise and Brady worked together at G-E-T and made countless memories, like one hectic morning when Elise accidentally took a vitamin and her dog’s medicine.
“He sent a student to my classroom with a container of puppy chow as snack,” she said. “He said, ‘If she's starts to bark come and get me.’"
Brady's sense of humor was matched only by his generosity.
"There wasn't a time he wasn't helping someone,” Engel said.
"I really believe when you do that kindness to people, it keeps going; it doesn't just end,” Elise said.
After his death, Brady's legacy continues in the community's outpouring of love and condolences.
"I have more than 20 pounds of cards to read and open,” Elise said.
Also, in the halls of G-E-T, Brady is everywhere, in memories of a conversation or a joke. However, perhaps most importantly for a teacher, he remains in the hearts of his students.
“He was in G-E-T, but he was G-E-T as well,” Engel said. "Kids from all walks of life have come back to express what a difference he's made in his life. As teachers, that's all we can hope for, is that we've made a difference, and he's certainly done that."
Elise and her two daughters want to express how grateful they are for the community's support, which Elise said has been tremendous.
The G-E-T school district is providing counseling support to students and staff.
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