Richard S. “Dick” Olson passed away at home from pulmonary disease on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Dick was born in Allentown, PA in 1943. He is survived by his wife, Jane and his daughters, Sherri Olson Hewett (Tony, Los Angeles, California), Kimberly Ann Olson (Sarasota, Florida), Christin Tinsworth Baker (Martin, Bethesda Maryland) and Summer Tinsworth Sletten (Kevin, Peoria, Illinois), and six grandchildren; also his sister-in-law, Katie Olson, two nieces and two nephews all living in Framingham, Massachusetts. Dick was preceded in death by his mother, Dorothea Olson Todino, his father Stanley William Olson, his brother, Peter Olson and his beloved bird-dog, Peggy. He attended Framingham High School in Framingham, Massachusetts (1961), Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts (BS-1966) and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (MBA-1968) in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Using his leadership qualities and organizational skills, Dick served on the boards of the following community organization: Manatee Players, Manatee Symphony Association (president), Sarasota Symphony Orchestra (treasurer, president), Florida West Coast Museum and Bishop Planetarium, Bradenton Downtown Development Association, Manatee County Housing Finance Authority (vice chair), Desoto Celebration, Hernando Desoto Society, Kiwanis Club of Bradenton, United Way of Manatee County (campaign chair and president), Chamber of Commerce of Manatee County, Economic Development Council of Manatee County (chairman), Ellis Bank of Bradenton (subsequently Bank of America), Barnett Bank of Manatee County (subsequently Bank of America), Asolo Theater Company (treasurer) and the Manatee Education Foundation.
His entire professional career centered on real estate development primarily in Florida. Dick began his career with Boise Cascade Corporation in Washington DC in 1968 developing low and moderate income rental housing projects. Between 1968 and 2002 he completed 40 real estate projects comprising several thousand residential units and several hundred thousand square feet of commercial space. He also owned RS Olson Better Homes & Gardens, a real estate brokerage firm.
Dick was a loving husband and father. He shared his time and talents to mentor many to help them attain their goals. He had a keen intellect, strong problem-solving skills and an immense energy level. Many sought his opinion and advice. Jane was often asked by others, “What does Dick think”? Dick demonstrated a commitment to excellence in his personal and business life. He led by example. Several successful protégés have attested to this. He had a great sense of humor and was fun to be with.
Being multifaceted, Dick enjoyed with Jane many activities including spending time with their grown children and grandchildren, family Golden Doodle, Ursula. organic gardening and doing woodlot chores, daily physical exercise, traveling, snow skiing, attending plays, ballets, operas, reading American history, reading biographies of successful people and playing duplicate bridge and yes, taking his Harley-Davidson for a ride on Vermont back roads. Dick was an avid and ethical hunter and enjoyed hunting in Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Vermont. Bird hunting with his prize English setter, Peggy Sue occupied much of his time between 1995 and 2005. In addition to their home in Bradenton, Florida, he also spent as much time as possible with his wife, Jane, at their other home in Norwich, Vermont. He enjoyed time with family and friends at his hunting ranch, Valhalla in Ona, Florida between 2002 and 2011, the first “Stewardship Forest” created by Dick and so designated by the state of Florida.
Dick was a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Bradenton, Florida. He was a member of the Hillsdale College President’s Club and he enjoyed attending Hillsdale College sponsored events in Florida, Washington, DC and Hillsdale, Michigan. Our nation's founding principles were extremely important to Dick.
A celebration of life will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, 4030 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209, at 11am on Saturday, November 11, 2023. A reception in the parish hall will follow the service. Arrangements are by Griffith Cline. Interment into the Christ Church columbarium will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Christ Episcopal Church, the Manatee Community Foundation, the Bishop Museum or Hillsdale College.