Patricia Marie (Pat) Olson (88), Denver, NC, passed away peacefully at Wexford House on April 20, 2020, after a long and debilitating illness.
Born in New York City, Pat was the oldest of William and Lillian Barbour’s three daughters. She was a very good student and after attending private parochial school, she chose to transfer and complete her education early at Bayside High School by increasing her course load. Pat was well read, had an uncanny ability to remember names, dates, places and events, and often shouted out the correct answers to her favorite trivia game shows. Shortly after graduation, Pat chose to take the Civil Service Exam, which resulted in a job offer with the CIA in Washington, DC. Though very excited by the offer, Pat was not ready to move so far away from her parents and sisters so she chose to accept a private sector position much closer to home.
As fate would have it, Pat met the love of her life while working in the NYC area and it wasn’t long before the tall and ambitious US Army veteran, Carl “John” Olson, swept her off her feet and down the aisle. The young couple started their family, built a new home on Long Island, and focused on raising their son close to her family. This was a happy time for Pat and when her husband’s company transferred them to NJ, Pat was devastated. They planned to relocate to Wayne as their second child came along, and she would be isolated out in the suburbs without her family, public transportation, and the many attractions of being in the Big Apple. Pat soon realized that she would need to learn how to drive, and who was helping to teach her? Her young son, Billy! She was very nervous behind the wheel but her son gave her the confidence she needed, cheering her on, “You can do it, Mom!”
Pat was very fortunate making life-long friends in Wayne and discovered that there were many things to do in a growing suburban town. In addition to being a dedicated and loving mother, Pat kept active by joining a bowling league with her husband, playing tennis, spending time at the lake, taking adult education courses at night, and wining and dining their friends and many of her husband’s foreign business associates. As the wife of an up and coming executive, she also had the opportunity to tour Europe and attend political fundraising and charitable affairs such as the Albert E. Smith Memorial Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. As the children became more independent, Pat helped her husband when he started his own book distribution and publishing companies. Before long, her son and daughter joined in and the whole family was involved in the businesses.
Once the kids were married, Pat and John decided to downsize and move to Randolph where Pat went back to school to earn a business certificate at Dover Business College. Immediately after completing the program, Pat joined The Prudential to work at the Morris Plains campus, followed by the Woodbridge campus several years later. Pat made many very dear friends before deciding to retire from the long commute after the sudden death of her husband. Moving to be near her daughter and son-in-law, Pat spent a few years traveling, shopping, and collecting an embarrassing number of Beanie Babies® before she decided that retirement was not for her. After taking a few temporary jobs, Pat had the good fortune of finding a position with a successful medical practice close to home. Pat joined Plaza Family Care and made many good friends there as well; “The Girls” were like family to her. Working into her eighties, the decision to retire was difficult but necessary, as her declining health became an obstacle to her independence. In the years that followed, Pat moved between nursing, rehab, and assisted living facilities in the Hackettstown area before moving to out of state to stay near family.
Predeceased by her adoring husband of 47 years, Carl John Olson, parents William and Lillian Barbour, sisters Lorraine, Diane, and infant, Marion, Pat is survived by her son, William (Jan), daughter Patricia (Cliff), grandchildren Kristin (Richard) and Kyle, and many nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are under the care of Jenkins Funeral Home, 4081 Startown Road, Newton, NC 28658. Interment at George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus, NJ will be private due to COVID-19 restrictions. In lieu of flowers, donations in Patricia’s name to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region (HPCCR.org) would be greatly appreciated.
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