Obituary: Richard John Olsen, Former 40-Year North End Resident

OLSEN, Richard John Of Boston, passed away peacefully at the age of 83 on July 21, 2017 with his children by his side. Richard was born in Winthrop, on July 23, 1933 and lived with extended family in East Boston. He attended Christopher Columbus High School in the North End, which began a live-long love of the neighborhood. He attended Boston College from which he obtained a degree in History in 1955. He then attended Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, eventually receiving his commission in the Navy. He proudly and honorably served his country on the USS Wasp as a crypto officer, attaining the rank of Lt. JG before his discharge in 1958. Richard received his MBA from Babson College.

Although Richard worked in a number of fields throughout his life, he spent years at Boston College, where he worked in the Bureau of Public Affairs and served as the Executive Assistant to President Seavey Joyce. Richard also was director of Educational Planning for Massachusetts General Hospital and was responsible for the creation of the MGH Institute of Health Professions, allowing it to become a degree-granting institute. He later served as CFO and VP of Investor Relations at Candela Corporation, a medical laser company. Richard also served on the Governor’s Commission to Keep Massachusetts Beautiful. Richard is preceded in death by his parents William Arthur Olsen and Mary Agnes Conway Olsen as well as his sister Ruth Marie Olsen Hanlon. He is the loving father of Janet Olsen (Bruce Petway) of Birmingham, Alabama, John Olsen (Alisha) of Boca Raton, Florida and Stephen Olsen (Anne) of Milton. He is also the grandfather of Natalia Olsen, Brianna Olsen, Connor Petway, Coleman Petway, Shane Olsen and Casey Olsen and was the special Godfather of Lilly Fitzgerald of Arlington, Virginia. He is the brother of Donald Olsen and Pauline Walker and her late husband and Dick’s best friend, Mike Walker. He is also the beloved uncle of numerous nephews and nieces to whom he was affectionately referred as “Uncle Dickie”. Richard also leaves scores of friends, some life-long and some newly found, as he never met a stranger.

The North End holds a special place in his heart, having lived there for over 40 years. He was well known in the local restaurants and coffee shops and considered his neighbors his family. Richard was also an avid boater, a lover of music, art and history. He loved to read, loved to discuss politics and loved to travel and eat the finest foods. Richard lived life to the fullest and lived by the motto “life is good.” A Memorial Service will be held 1:00 p.m., Saturday, July 22, 2017 in the Boston Harborside Home, 580 Commercial Street, BOSTON. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Mariners House, 11 North Square, Boston, MA 02113.

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