In Memoriam

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Stanley Oleson ’54

Stanley Oleson ’54, August 29, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. Raised on farmlands in Alberta, Canada, Stan received his education in a one-room schoolhouse and earned his keep doing chores—everything from milking cows to chopping wood. He moved with his family to Oregon when he was 15 and excelled at Colton High School, graduating as valedictorian. Following this, he worked on a dairy farm, attended night school, and delivered telegrams by bicycle for Western Union. He trained as a marine electrician and worked in the Portland shipyards until he enlisted, and received U.S. citizenship, to serve in the army air forces during World War II. He spent three years as a cryptographic technician in the Pacific Theatre. Stan then attended Reed and MIT in the 3-2 program in physics, receiving a BA from Reed and a BS from MIT. During summers, he worked as a forest ranger on Mount Hood, and he spent a year working as a rural mail carrier before completing his final undergraduate year. He also earned an MS at MIT. Stan met Mary Riddle while he was at MIT working as a research engineer; they were married for 58 years. The couple moved west in 1957, when Stan went to work for Boeing in Seattle and then at the Stanford Research Institute. He went on to make a 20-year career with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. and Colorado. In retirement, he did freelance writing. He is remembered for undertaking challenges and endeavors on behalf of others, for his keen interest in scientific developments, and for his positive attitude and wry sense of humor. Survivors include his wife; three children, Keith, Nan, and Karen; and four grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2015

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