Ray N. OlsenMarch 22, 1933 ~ July 1, 2017 (age 84)
Ray N. Olsen passed away peacefully Saturday, July 1, 2017, at 3:00 pm, surrounded by loving family and friends at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH, at the age of 84. He was born March 22, 1933, in San Francisco, CA, and grew up in San Pedro, CA. He is preceded in death by his parents, Inga A. Olsen and Oskar Johann Olsen, and is survived by his wife Barbara; brother John; his children Eric, Kirk, Karen, and Arne; their spouses Dawn, Barry, and Robin; grandchildren Kristen, Christopher, Bethany, Bobby, Lily, and Alex; and great-grandchildren Ilta, Halti, and Pavlos. He will be forever remembered for his great love of Barbara and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, his many friends, and the special times they shared. Ray married the love of his life Barbara Smith on July 10, 1954. They met in the San Pedro Trinity Lutheran Church choir, which he joined specifically to get to know her. Ray’s love and support of amateur athletics, especially The Olympics, was boundless. After attending the Los Angeles Summer Games in 1984 he was hooked and ultimately attended Summer Olympic Games with his extended family in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London; and Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Salt Lake City, and Vancouver. He was a founding member of the Ohio Olympic Committee, and a valued member of the International Society of Olympic Historians, which led to a warm personal and professional relationship with members of the Cuban Olympic Committee. Friendship through sport transcended political and cultural differences and Ray’s material support enabled Cuban athletes to participate in Games they would have otherwise missed. His world-class Olympic memorabilia collection is currently being curated into a traveling exhibit. Ray was a curious and avid traveler, setting foot in over 100 countries on every continent including Antarctica, which he visited with his brother John and son Kirk in 2007. He graduated from San Pedro High School and earned a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from Long Beach State University. He also treasured the time he spent attending the University of California at Berkeley. He worked for the State of California before serving in the United States Navy. After being discharged he joined Los Angeles Unified School District as a personnel manager and adult high school teacher. After a few years he was recruited to join TRW as a human resources manager in Redondo Beach, CA, and ultimately rose to the position of Vice President, Compensation, Benefits and Security at corporate headquarters in Cleveland, OH. He and his family lived in the same house in the Walden area of Aurora, OH, for over 40 years. Ray was an active member of many professional organizations, including the Human Resources Advisory Committee at Cornell University, and the Aerospace Industries Association. He was an enthusiastic mentor to multiple generations of successful human resources executives, and he was renowned for his warm personal relationships with everyone from parking garage attendants to board members. Ray lobbied Congress to amend the tax code, which was instrumental in allowing employers to implement flexible corporate benefits programs, leading to the annual enrollment model most companies follow today. This creative and innovative accomplishment was one of his proudest professional achievements, along with helping to create a path for women to rise from the secretarial pool into professional positions with the company. He will be remembered for his generous financial and personal talent support of artistic and sporting organizations from local to international. Ray was a long-time active member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, serving numerous terms on Church Council and Committees. Everyone who knew Ray agrees that the world is a better place for his having walked among us. Ray’s life will be celebrated at 3:00 pm on Thursday, July 6, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 17989 Chillicothe Rd in Bainbridge, Twp., Ohio 44023, where visitation will be held from 2:00 P.M. until service time. Officiating will be Pastor Robert Henderson. Full military honors will be provided by the U.S. Navy Honor Guard Team, assisted by members of Mantua American Legion Post No. 193. Final resting place will be at Green Hills Memorial Park, Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Arrangements are by the Green Family Funeral Home, Mantua, Ohio where his obituary, Video-Gift tribute, condolences and memorials may be shared at www.greenfamilyfuneralhome.