Cover photo for Vivian Marie Olsen's Obituary
Vivian Marie Olsen Profile Photo
1923 Vivian 2020

Vivian Marie Olsen

December 9, 1923 — July 17, 2020

Vivian Marie Pratto Olsen, 96, passed away on Friday, July 17, 2020 in Pocatello, Idaho.

Vivian was born in Joliet, Illinois on December 9, 1923 to Joseph and Mary Sestak Pratto. Vivian attended school in Joliet, Illinois and graduated from high school there.

Vivian was attending Illinois State Normal University to become a teacher. She graduated with an associate degree in education and taught for a while. It was the beginning of WWII and she saw the Uncle Sam poster that said, "I Want You." She enlisted in the Navy without telling her parents and when they came to pick her up, she told them. They stopped the car with her mother yelling, "You did what?" Vivian said she thought her mother was going to have a stroke!

A few days later, she reported to Great Lakes Naval Hospital to finish paperwork. Vivian went to NYC for five weeks of training and was found academically fit to serve in the medical field. She was sent to the Naval Base in Memphis, Tennessee. She got sick on the train ride and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. There she met her future husband, Robert Ray Olsen, who was a 1st Class Pharmacist in charge of forty German prisoners. They became friends and later married on March 3, 1945 in Hernando, Mississippi without telling her parents. They were later sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on August 16, 1969. Vivian was discharged from the Navy after becoming pregnant with her first child, she returned to Joliet to live with her parents while her husband finished his enlistment.

Vivian lived in Pocatello most of her life only to go to Bremerton, Washington when her husband was reenlisted. They returned to Pocatello to spend the rest of their lives.

Vivian went to work at Pocatello Public Library and when the city bought the Bookmobile, Vivian and her good friend Marylou volunteered to drive the bus from school to school so that kids could have books to read. They traveled to Downey, Preston and Malad with that service and retired after thirty years. Even after Vivian no longer participated in the program, we couldn't take her anywhere without someone recognizing her as the "Bookmobile Lady". Vivian was an avid reader and taught her family to love books. When her eyesight failed her, she would listen to her scriptures on tape every day.

Vivian was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when her little sister, Bobette, was baptized, She was an active member, attending every week until covid-19 kept her home. The last few months were hard on Vivian because she could not go to her family home evening group which she loved so much. She didn't like being locked up in her home. She served in many capacities for the church, but her favorite was the librarian where she helped organize several ward libraries around the stake and took great pride in what she accomplished!

Vivian loved to knit and spent many hours making afghans for her children and grandchildren. She taught many young women how to knit despite the challenges of her being left-handed.

Vivian loved to be outside and doing yard work. She was an excellent cook and taught her three daughters to cook as well. After she retired, mom and dad would travel to Yuma, Arizona every year from October to April. Every Christmas while they were away, we would receive boxes of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes that they grew in their yard. They made many friends in Arizona and went on many trips and cruises with them.

Vivian was an avid cheerleader for all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, watching their soccer, baseball and basketball games. She loved to go see the kids play. In later years, because of her failing eyesight, she could not always tell which player belonged to her.

Vivian had a spicy personality and you never had to wonder where you stood with her because she would let you know.

After her husband's passing, Vivian relied on her faithful companion Mindee Two, her Boston Bull Terrier. The passing of Mindee Two left her distraught because she was then living alone. She volunteered to babysit the family dogs for vacations. The dogs always returned home from grandma's "fat and happy!"

Vivian liked to visit and could talk with anybody for hours.

A very big thanks goes to her son-in-law Vern, who gave many hours of his time generously to take care of her. He would run her errands and take her to doctors' appointments. Their favorite was going to Costco to enjoy a hotdog and ice cream.

Vivian's grandson Jeremy lived in her basement and saved her from having to leave her home in the last few months. He helped her in so many ways to care for her and make her life comfortable. A big heartfelt thank you to him.

Vivian is proceeded in death by her husband, Robert, her parents Joseph and Mary Pratto and her baby brother Elmer Pratto.

She is survived by her daughters Sandra (Vern) Briscoe, Jo Bamber, Bobette Underwood, 14 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

A viewing will be held at Wilks Funeral Home on Thursday, July 30, 2020 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on July 31, 2020 at Restlawn Memorial Garden in Pocatello, Idaho.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family under the "Tribute Wall" tab above.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Vivian Marie Olsen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, July 30, 2020

6:00 - 7:30 pm (Mountain time)

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Graveside Service

Friday, July 31, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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