Thursday, January 17, 2008

Remembering Douglas V. Olds

Yesterday, Michele, Ellie, Mikayla and I traveled to Bend for the funeral of Doug Olds - the man that was married to my Grandmother for 35 years, and one of the 3 grandfathers I was blessed to have growing up.

He died on January 10th, at home, in the presence of his daughter and my grandmother, at the age of nearly 91. He lived a very long and rich life - to be sure.

Mom did a wonderful job putting together the above posters (she's been with my grandmother (her mom) since Saturday) - celebrating his life. (I suppose it would be an inappropriate to remind the readers that pictures taken of me in the past are reflective of fashion styles at the time, and should not be used to judge me......) I think the picture of the wedding of him and my grandmother is especially beautiful - made even more so by the knowledge that that was the same day that my mom and dad found out they were expecting us.

At the service the chaplain used 4 words to describe Doug - I'll try to give an example of each -

GENTLE: This is a word I especially recognize. I never saw him anything but gentle. They've always had German Shepherds as pets - one special dog at a time and his love for them epitomized this adjective.

HUMOR: The hospice worker shared this one, "When visiting with Doug he exclaimed, 'I really don't like being old, but I guess I better live with it as it IS my last name'"

HUMBLE: With this description came some facts I never knew. Apparently Doug was a search and rescue pilot in World War 2 who saved many lives. Though he was willing to share stories of this experience, it was never in an attempt to make himself sound like the hero. He also wore a watch all of his life that was given to him by the parents of a boy who's life he saved from drowning. His biggest ambition was to "walk in his father's footsteps" - the man he considered a true hero. His father was the superintendent of public schools and later, that is, indeed, what Doug became. He touched countless numbers of children's lives throughout his career.

LOVING: Evidenced most especially in the very special relationship he and my grandmother shared for their 35 years of marriage. In visiting with the chaplain, he described Grandmother as "She's not just a good wife - she's wonderful". They had a very endearing marriage - with lots of adventures traveling around the country, co-owning a nursery together, managing the 6 acres of property they have in Bend, hiking around the high desert, and loving God together.

As you can imagine, my grandmother is lost in grief right now at the prospect of losing her life-mate. Please be in prayer for her strength and peace, as she adjusts to life with just the memories and not him by her side.


Anonymous said...


That wedding says so much! By the end of your post I found myself crying for this beautiful person and his beautiful love and his attitude toward life.

Yeah I recognize those senior pics. I hope you saved that dress because you know someday soon velvet and puffy sleeves will be hot again...(just teasing, you know I have similar pics of myself in a box somewhere!)

stephietoo said...


All I can say is, I am sorry for the loss of Doug, but I am thrilled about learning the legacy he is leaving behind.

We love you,

Anonymous said...

Good evening - we just learned of Doug's passing today, 1/22/08. Your grandmother sent us the info regarding his services. We met Doug and your grandmother in 1979 - 80 when we lived in Bend. At that time they were involved in Amway and soon we found ourselves involved as well. I think Doug (and your grandmother) truly inspired my husband and myself to strive to be the best we can be. He was so gentle and kind, loved his humor, and most of all his love and devotion towards your grandmother. He truly will be missed!!! Over the years, we stayed in contact wheather it be thru mail correspondences, most recenlty emails, and by short and sometimes unexpected visits. We are so grateful to have met such a wonderful, caring, and a good humored man. Warmest regards Phill and Jean Finley

Anonymous said...

I just found this memorial page you posted for Douglas V. Olds and I liked what you have done here.
I work on Olds family genealogy and I would like to correspond with you about this part of the family.
I gather from your post that you may not be an Olds descendant, but I hope you will be able to tell me something more about Dolph and Doug Olds and their families.

---Dan W. Olds
Olds "at" usa "dot" com

dvs said...

I recently found this page. My name is Douglas V Smelser and my father told me I was named after his commanding officer in the US Navy. My father served on a PBY rescue plane in the S. Pacific during WWII. I am assuming this is the same man and this is the first time I've found any information on Mr. Olds. I am sorry for your loss but know that he impressed my father enough that he named his first son after him.

StephieAnne said...

Thank you for those kind words. I just found that you commented and I forwarded your comment to my mom and dad. As Doug was my step-grandfather, I don't have a lot of first-hand background information of his life before he married my grandmother - and even now, am sad to admit we weren't as close as we could have been (based only on lack of visits with each other). What a wonderful honor to our family you extended to us to share this special story.