Olga Strimple: UNO Student 1915-1919; UNO Alumni Association, 1922-1944
2017 - Present

    Share

Part Seven UNO's Legendary Woman of 2010

In March 2009, Olga Strimple was honored by the Chancellor’s Commission in the Status of Women with the Legendary Women of UNO Award. I was overwhelmed by the number of poems, paintings, drawings, and other artistry provided by her family, not to mention the number of family members in attendance. I met Olga’s great-granddaughter, who bears her name. She told me she knows Olga through her poetry, much like I do. Olga’s great grandson, Victor, spoke eloquently for the family as he accepted Olga’s award. A single cliché swam through my mind: “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

So much of Olga’s art revolves around her true loves: her family and the outdoors. A chapter of her poem “These Are Our Hills” talks of her father, Thor Jorgensen, the man who carried a gun with no ammunition as he walked through the open prairie with his two red dogs chasing at his heels.

Olga believed that the best way to live was to leave the world better than how you found it. Her book of poetry was painstakingly typed out with perfect margins and immaculate spelling, bound together in a simple yellow folio in 1976, when Olga was 82.  Perhaps this was her final gift.  Olga passed away in July of 1987, leaving a legacy few who came to know her will forget.

Bare branches making lace,

Against the winter sky;

With delicacy trace

Designs that hold the eye.

Black and bare and strong,

Against the silver gray

They stand the winter long

Defiant of the May.

Stripped of summer’s dress,

Bereaved of flowers of spring;

They bow not in distress

But through them wild winds sing.

Proudly against the sky

In tracings bold and strong,

Their filigrees defy

Memories of youth and song.