A baked-in legacy

Lt. Andrew Copeland hands off a final coffee cake delivery from Sandy Olson to Sgt. Greg Barber.

Sandy Olson was a stalwart supporter of the Keizer Police Department. She wasn’t a reserve officer. She didn’t volunteer in the police station. She made sure the department’s employees were well fed with at least four coffee cakes a month. 

“I think she had probably been doing it for 15 years,” said daughter Karla Newman. 

Providing treats for the men and women in blue was such an important part of Olson’s life, she made it part of her legacy. She supervised one last coffee cake delivery on her 83rd birthday, April 20, and the officers and staff of the Keizer Police Department turned out en masse to sing Happy Birthday

Olson passed away six days later after complications arose from heart attack she suffered in January (See obituary, Page A5).

Newman and her sister, Nola Wilkerson, plan to carry on the monthly donations in her honor. 

“We asked her before she passed away if there was anything she wanted us to continue doing for her like oyster stew on Christmas, and she responded with the coffee cakes,” Newman said. 

Newman said her mother started baking in high school and simply never stopped. 

“She went on to own a bakery and donut shop and made all sorts of things,” Newman said. 

Sandy Olson

Olson met the Wampler family through church and when she found out Tyler Wampler, recently retired, was a police officer, she began the baking endeavor. 

The deal was four cakes a month, whichever officer agreed to pick them up got to take one of the cakes home to their family. She typically called the Wampler home or Lt. Andrew Copeland at the office when the cakes were ready. 

“She meant business,” said Katie Wampler. “A few times, Tyler had to explain that he was on his motorcycle, but she didn’t care. He would have to strap the cakes down and deliver them to the department.”

Olson suffered a heart attack in January and it led to discovering continual build-ups of excess fluid in her lungs. She ended up in the hospital twice before deciding she wanted to spend her birthday at home. 

“We were fortunate in the fact that she was able to come home and spend her 83rd birthday with us. We had that last week with her and she passed peacefully – exactly where she wanted to be in the chair where she spent a lot of time and surrounded by family,” Newman said. 

Olson was always the first to volunteer when anything needed baking, a request for a few dozen cookies could easily turn into 60 dozen by the time she was finished, but her spirit of giving knew no bounds. 

“She and my dad always appreciated people in everything they did. I remember we had a couple of kids who needed a place to stay knock on our door late at night. One of them stayed with us until she graduated high school,” Newman said.