A farmer, stockman, and businessman, Olan Charles “O.C.” McFadden had his roots in the Natoma, Kansas area, where he was born on December 23, 1908 to Charles and Elsie (Smith) McFadden. When a child his family moved to Graham County, Kansas, and as a young man he served as a page at the state legislature while his father was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Olan attended secondary school in Morland, Kansas and graduated high school there as school valedictorian in 1927. Though he received a football scholarship to Kearney State College in Nebraska, he returned to help his father farm because he didn’t care for the college social life.
Myra Beryl Crist was born August 17, 1911 southeast of Osborne and was the daughter of Jess and Mildred Crist. Beryl attended school in Hoxie, Kansas and married Olan Charles McFadden in Morland on April 20, 1930. Their children were Carl Paul and Sandra Kay. During the early 1930s Olan hauled furniture for those moving out of Graham County.
In 1935 O.C. moved his family to Osborne. They had only one truck at the time with which to start a trucking business and lived in very humble surroundings. But over time O.C. slowly built up the business and at one point he had three tractor-trailers and drivers working for him. A major source of income was buying and hauled hogs to packing plants in Topeka and Kansas City. This job ended with the 1959 flood that destroyed the packing houses. Farming then became McFadden’s main source of income, with land ownership in four counties. He usually had a herd of cattle on pasture being fattened for market. When his hired hands reached retirement age McFadden leased his land to younger farmers.
O.C. had memberships in the Osborne United Methodist Church, Rotary Club, Good Sam Club and the National Motor Coach Association. He served as city councilman and mayor of Osborne, and as a United Methodist Church trustee. Over the years O.C. and his wife Beryl gave large sums of money in the Osborne area for a new baseball complex, community golf course, airport runway, the Osborne Methodist Church, and more than $300,000 to the new Osborne Public Library in 1995. From all accounts he had more fun giving his wealth away than he did making it. O.C. had a great sense of humor and the story is told of how after the library was built he would come in daily and sit under his portrait just to see if people would recognize him.
O.C.’s trademarks were his hat and checkered shirt. He was involved in singing tenor in a barbershop quartet, taking ball teams to games, motor boating, traveling, hunting, skeet shooting, pool and cards. O.C. was also a well-known square dance caller and teacher throughout northcentral Kansas and Nebraska.
Beryl died April 15, 1999 and was buried in the Osborne Cemetery. O.C. lasted nearly three more years, passing away on January 6, 2002 in Osborne. He was laid to rest next to his beloved Beryl in the Osborne Cemetery. In September 2002 the majority of his money was used to found the McFadden Charitable Trust, designed to benefit all of Osborne County into the future. By 2010 the Trust’s assets amounted to more than $4,000,000, with annual contributions across the county of over $300,000, and is one of the largest trusts of its kind in the state of Kansas.