Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President David Olson dies


The longtime president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce died Wednesday night.

David Olson, 57, who served as president of the Chamber since 1991, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in March 2013, according to a statement from the Chamber.

Olson appeared to be in full remission after receiving a successful stem cell transplant this spring, but was hospitalized over the weekend because his lymphoma had returned, his family wrote on his CaringBridge page. He had also developed infections, mono and kidney failure, his family said.

He died "peacefully surrounded by family members and very close friends" shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday, his family wrote.

Funeral arrangements haven't been announced.

While serving as president of the chamber, which is a lobbying force for business at the state Capitol, Olson accomplished many things for businesses in Minnesota, including: reforming workers' compensation, campaigning to increase transportation funding and successfully repealing the sales tax on business-to-business transactions in Minnesota, chamber officials said.

"David's deep commitment to improving the state's economy and the lives of Minnesotans carried throughout his career," Bill Blazar, the senior vice president of public affairs and business development at the Minnesota Chamber, said in a news release. "He loved our state. He worked every day to make it better and loved being engaged in anything and everything that would make our economy stronger."

Gov. Mark Dayton called Olson a gentleman and an excellent advocate for the 2,300-plus businesses the chamber represents, the Associated Press reports.

Lawmakers and people who knew Olson took to Twitter to share their condolences.

Olson graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis. He earned a bachelor's degree in urban/political science from St. Olaf College in Northfield and a Master of Science in public administration from Mankato State University, according to his biography on the chamber's website.

Olson has held leadership positions with the TwinWest Chamber, as well as chambers in Minneapolis and Burnsville. He's also been on the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, is a former member of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association Board of Directors and served on Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees, according to the chamber and the Star Tribune.

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