Walter Boyd Olsen Jr., who took great joy in loyalty to his wife, his family, his work, and his God, died July 11 in Oxford, Florida. He was 77.Walt grew up in Western Springs, Illinois. After receiving a BS in Industrial Engineering at Purdue University, he moved to Newport Beach, California, to begin a career at Collins Radio Company.
In 1970 he married Tonnya Abrahamson, a marriage that lasted 52 years until his death. He loved her very much and was fiercely loyal.As newlyweds, they began another lifelong journey—this one with the United States Postal Service in Washington, DC. Walt was passionate and devoted to his work until the day he retired short of his 60th birthday. For 35 years Walt “bled blue,” as Tonnya often put it. They both loved the travel and moves (“adventures,” they called them) that his career entailed. He took key positions in Phoenix, Honolulu, Seattle, and Denver, eventually retiring as Manager of Operations Support for the Western Area.
His joy at being a dad to his three sons in each stage of life never faded. He was proud of each of them and loved spending time with them, and later with their wives, and their families. As his sons discussed work issues and other struggles, he would offer a listening ear and what advice he could—almost always adding with a bittersweet, “This is so great. I never got to talk like this with my dad.” He also frequently expressed joy that he got to know his four grandchildren and wanted them to have joyful memories of him.
Since moving to The Villages in 2012, his main activities centered on Live Oaks Community Church and the Colorado Club. His reputation as a “people person” grew as he pursued social events and spending time doing anything with others. Walt’s friends helped him to continue being an active participant in activities and church as his mobility waned.
In addition to his wife, Tonnya, Walt is survived by his three sons (Ted, Grant, Craig) and their wives (Alexis, Aubrey, and Vanessa, respectively), and four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, his widow suggests a contribution to Live Oaks Community Church in Oxford, Florida, noting “Walt Olsen—missions” in the memo line, Compassionate Care Hospice, World Vision, or your favorite charity.