Charlotte Mary Ruth Elizabeth Basurto-Olsen was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on June 10, 2000, to Mauricio A. Basurto and Pauline E. Olsen. She passed into God’s arms on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, due to complications from Loeys-Dietz Syndrome.
“Charlie” was the adored baby sister of three brothers, Ari, Addison, and Noah. She was baptized on June 11, 2000, and confirmed on July 14, 2018, by her grandfather, James P. Olsen.
Charlotte attended preschool at St. Paul Lutheran School in Menomonie, Wis., and kindergarten through fifth grade at St. Mark Lutheran School in Eau Claire, Wis. She was a graduate of the Department of Defense school William C. McCool Middle School on the island of Guam, where she excelled in art and science. Charlotte loved her next two years at Guam High, where she pursued every art class, took French and was a member of a lively social circle. In 2017, Charlie moved to the island of Okinawa, Japan. She graduated from the DoDEA school, Kubasaki High School, in 2019. In the fall of 2019, she moved again to Ramstein, Germany.
A warrior of the connective tissue disorder, Loeys-Dietz Syndrome, Charlotte had cervical surgery four times, one minor and five major cardiac surgeries and eight attempts to surgically straighten her spine. Surgeries also included repair of broken rods, and treatment of instrumentation infections. She underwent surgery a total of 28 times. Aneurysm rupture was a constant worry, and she undertook CTA scans about every six months. Charlotte saw elite doctors on three continents and circumnavigated the world in the spring of 2014.
Charlotte’s greatest passion was to spend time with her Guamanian dog Phoebe, a puggle, and her Okinawan cat, street rescue, Aliyah-Minerva (Minnie). She loved animals of every kind and was a fierce advocate for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as well as other animal adoption agencies.
Charlie’s other passion was her happy place, “The Farm,” as well as the company of her large, extended family. Charlotte wrote in her journals that she considered her best friends to be her brothers and her cousins. She enjoyed especially close friendships with cousins Olivia Stevens and Eliana Rowell.
A talented artist who worked in multiple media, Charlotte aspired to attend acting and/or art school but said her principal joy was in helping animals and people. The body of her artistic work will be preserved for enjoyment by those who love her.
Charlotte was a fierce advocate for social justice and equity for all members of society. She was interested in Universal Design and was especially determined to create spaces in which disability of any kind could be accepted and accommodated. Charlotte railed against the restrictions of her physical limitations, but her motto was “No Whining.”
Charlotte leaves behind a large extended family on both her Basurto and Olsen branches: grandparents Arturo and Ruth Basurto, grandparents Mary and Jim (d. 2022), mom Pauline, and dad Mauricio, brothers Ari, Addison and Noah, Uncles Arturo and David, Aunt Marta and six Basurto cousins, and Uncle Pete, Uncle James, Aunt Kate, Aunt Lisa, Aunt Jenny (d. 2015), and 23 cousins and second cousins on the Olsen side.
A celebration of Charlotte’s life will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, at Peace Lutheran Church, 307 W. Warren St., Tomah. Pastor Dawn Lindberg will officiate. Burial will be in the South Ridge Lutheran Cemetery, town of Wellington.
Visitation will be at the church from 3–6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, and from 10 a.m. until the time of service Saturday, Feb. 10. The Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements. Online condolences can be offered by visiting www.sonnenburgfamilyfh.com. The service can be viewed via the Peace Lutheran Church Facebook page.