Richard Floyd Olson - August 4, 1928 – February 16, 2023
Richard Floyd Olson was born in Palo Alto, California on August 4, 1928, to Floyd and Mae Olson. He was raised in Palo Alto, where he graduated in 1946 from Lowell High School in San Francisco. His family moved to Sacramento California in 1946 where Dick graduated from Sacramento Jr. College with an AA in Business and participated ROTC. In his youth, he sold magazines and worked for a shoe store to help earn money.
From early on Dick had a passion for music where he played the clarinet and served as the drum major for marching bands in his high school, college, Sacramento Symphony, and in ROTC programs. In Jr. College, Dick was selected to attend the formation of the United Nations with fellow honor students.
In 1948, Dick entered the University of Oregon and joined the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity where he established lifelong friendships. He graduated in 1951 with a degree in business. It was at the University of Oregon that he met his wife of almost 71 years, Sara (Sally) Catherine Ford, a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority. They were married in 1952 as Dick was drafted for military duty shortly after graduation.
Dick served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Ordinance Corp during the Korean war where he and Sally were stationed in Stuttgart Germany for 2 years. Upon completion of duty, they returned to Eugene, where Dick joined his father-in-law, Hugh Ford in growing the family’s concrete products company. With Dick’s leadership the family business, SPEC Industries Inc, grew to four manufacturing locations and became the largest concrete pipe producer in the Northwest. In the 1980’s, they expanded into the concrete roof tile and waterworks supply to meet the market opportunities. His 6 children were each able to work alongside him at different times that allowed him to be a mentor in their life’s journey.
Dick’s devotion to his industry and to our community inspired him to give back of his time and leadership to many business and philanthropic organizations including: American Concrete Pipe Association, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, EWEB, Citizen Bank, Liberty Communications,
Cascade Employers, Associated Oregon Industries, Young Presidents Organization, Chief Executive Organization, Sacred Heart Foundation, Eugene Executive Association, Active 20/30 Club and Rotary International. Dick had a special passion for Rotary and the community service it provides. He was a Past President of the Rotary Club of Eugene and served as the District 5110 Governor in 1991-92 and was a major donor to the Rotary International Foundation.
Dick and Sally have been lifetime supporters of the University of Oregon and their Ducks having enjoyed both basketball and football games over the many years. The Duck flag was always flown outside their home on game days.
Throughout their life together, Dick and Sally have made spending time with their family and friends a priority. They enjoyed time traveling and vacationing with their family for holidays and gatherings at their Eugene home and vacation homes at the beach and in the desert. Dick’s passion was to always help create wonderful memories for every gathering. Dick and Sally have enjoyed the many cultural, theater and symphony opportunities that Eugene has offered to them over the years.
In retirement, Dick and Sally enjoyed numerous ocean and river cruise trips to visit the wonders of the world. Often family would join them in sharing their experience. Dick was a snow skier and avid fly fisherman. He enjoyed the Rogue River, Alaska, and the local McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. For many years his favorite river guide, Robin Alexander, helped Dick find the “Big Ones” to bring home to Sally. He made it a priority to take family members on each trip to share the majestic beauty of the river and a fresh fish fry for lunch by the river.
Dick enjoyed time playing golf with his family and friends. He was a member of the Eugene Country Club and Indian Wells Country Club. He scored a hole in one four different times that kept him coming back to play until he was 93.
Dick and Sally have been members of the First Congregational Church, before moving to the First Baptist Church in Eugene where Dick was active in the men’s senior bible study groups.
He is survived by his wife of almost 71 years, Sally, his 6 children who all reside in Oregon; Debbie (Dave) Dutton, Lake Oswego; Rick (Barbara) Olson, Pleasant Hill; Becky (Scott) Robertson, West Linn; Julie Olson, Tualatin; John (Vicki) Olson, Eugene; and Jane (Neil) Griffiths, Lake Oswego, 23 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and only brother Jerry Olson.
Dick has requested that his service be for his immediate family and his arrangements will be entrusted to Musgrove Family Mortuary. Please access the obituary and you are invited to sign the guestbook at musgroves.com.
In Lieu of Flowers, please consider a donation to The Rotary International Foundation or a charity of your choice.