Sherman Olson, 81


Sherman Olson, 81Southborough – “Keep it simple” was this entrepreneur's favorite principle and one which personified his life. His business and personal insights, which he liked to call “words of wisdom,” will live on among those who had the pleasure to know him, work for him, and live with him.

Sherman Olson of Southborough and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, died in his home Thursday, March 8, 2012 just months after his retirement. He was lovingly cared for in his final days by his wife and two daughters. He was 81 years old.

He was born in Gardner and raised in the Green Hill Park area of Worcester. He was the son of Eileen Waite Olson, a single mother, and Raymond C. Olson. He graduated from Wilbraham Monson Academy, Worcester Junior College and he received a mechanical engineering degree from Hartford University.

Of the things that mattered most to Mr. Olson was his family. He met his wife of 52 years, Elaine LaPerle Olson, at Worcester Junior College and they were married in 1959. He will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by his daughter, Suzanne Matthews, and daughter and son-in-law, Dana Olson and John Wright, and by his three grandchildren: Brianna, Shannon and Lilah Matthews and their father, Tom Matthews. Both families reside in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

He entered the U.S. Army in 1953, completed basic training at Fort Ord, California, was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and graduated from the Army Information School at Fort Slocum, New York. Pfc Olson was given the opportunity to become a helicopter pilot but declined because his inner entrepreneurial spirit lead him in a different direction.

He began his career building jet engines for Pratt and Whitney in the Aircraft Division, but decided early on that performing routine tasks on a daily basis was not the work he wanted, so he left jet engines and began working for Hobbs Manufacturing selling plastics extruders. He worked at Hobbs for a number of years, and it was there where he was introduced to the fundamentals of the burgeoning plastics industry. In 1970, he left Hobbs to start his own polyethylene film company, Danafilms Inc., literally from scratch. He built his first two lines from angle iron and spare parts, and still found enough hours in the day to make sales calls, handle the company ledgers, and build a third line. For the next 41 years, building this company would become his life's work and continued to be, even after he sold the company in 2011.

As a young boy, Mr. Olson loved sailing on Indian Lake in Worcester with a craft he built himself. This passion would grow through his early years and develop into a love of technical navigation. Thick foggy days and a rocky coastline were ideal challenges for this navigator, so in 1975 he bought a sailboat, Brigadoon, which was moored in Camden, Maine.

In more recent years, he became a member of Worcester Country Club and served as president from 1983 – 1985. It was there that he formed many of his lifelong friendships and shared a love of golf and laughter.

Mr. Olson will be remembered for his kind altruistic spirit, his endless generosity, and, of course, his words of wisdom.

The family will greet visitors Monday, March 12, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Morris Funeral Home, 40 Main St. in Southborough. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anne's Catholic Church, 20 Boston d. in Southborough, on Tuesday March 13 at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes memorial contributions be sent in his memory to any of the following organizations:, or

To send words of condolence to the family, please go to

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