Franklin M. Palani Olson
Franklin M. Palani OlsonKumu Hula Franklin M. Palani Olson passed away under the care of Hospice of St. Francis on April 27, 2017. He was born April 8, 1943 in Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada and relocated to the United States with his parents Raymond and Adrienne (Daigle) Olson in 1947. He spent his formative years in Fargo, North Dakota where his love of dance and theater first began at the age of 8. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the Marines and spent the next 3 years in Okinawa, Japan. During his tour, he studied their culture and language, mastering 17 Japanese folk dances. After his discharge he returned to Fargo. He moved to San Francisco in 1965 after receiving a scholarship with the San Francisco Contemporary Ballet. When the company relocated to New York he decided to remain in San Francisco, stay at his job with the VA and opened "Palani's Polynesian Dance Studio." After yearly vacations to Hawai'i he realized his love for Hawai'i and hula and in December 1974 bought a one-way ticket. With encouragement of Kumu Hula Joe Kahaulelio and his introduction to Loea Hula John Kaha'i Topolinski, Palani graduated as the first non-Hawaiian to attain the rank of Kuma Hula from Ka Pa Hula Hawai'i in traditional hula. After his 'uniki he opened his own hula halau, Ka Pa Hula 'Olapa. The school closed in 2006 due to his wife's illness (the late Wattie R.K. Char-Olson) remaining at her side until her death on August 18, 2016. Palani never forgot his roots or family and visited Fargo often. He is survived by his sister Cheryl Olson and four brothers; Steven (Deb), Neil, William (Sharon) and Todd (Julie). A Celebration of Life will be held on June 3, 2017 at Borthwick Mortuary. Visitation 9:30 a.m. with Service at 10:30 a.m.. Private inurnment at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on June 7, 2017. ~ Aloha Attire ~

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