Alice Mayhew Olson
Sept. 4, 1921 — April 17, 2013
Our beloved mother, Alice Olson, passed away peacefully at the age of 91 years on the evening of April 17, 2013 at the San Rafael home of her son Jeff and daughter-in-law Kathy, surrounded by her family. Born Josephine Alice Mayhew, Alice was a 31-year resident of Davis and for the last 13 years of her life resided at University Retirement Community. She had recently moved to Jeff and Kathy’s as her health deteriorated, and had spent the past six weeks enjoying the company of family.
Alice was born Sept. 4, 1921 in Provo, Utah, to Mabel Hansen and Edward Patton Mayhew, both professional musicians. She was the oldest of three siblings, Mary (who preceded her in death in 2001) and Edward (“Bud”). With the death of her father in 1927, the family moved to Minneapolis to live with relatives. Alice attended Washburn High School in Minneapolis, and graduated with a degree in Dietetics from the University of Minnesota.
Alice lived a full and rich life, and often commented that she couldn’t believe she had lived so long. She served as a First Lieutenant in the Medical Corps in Mississippi and Alabama during World War II. On Sept. 22, 1944, she married her college sweetheart, Russell Olson, and they began a life of adventure together that lasted for 57 years. Over the course of their marriage they lived in St. Paul, Minn.; Brookings, SD; Ames, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; Patiala and Chandigarh, India; Rome, Italy; New Delhi, India; Lagos, Nigeria; Reston, Va.; and Davis. Alice immersed herself in living overseas — taking classes, learning new cuisines, encouraging her children to embrace our new cultures, and forming many friendships that have lasted to this day. In her later years, she was fond of saying how grateful she was that she and Russell retired in Davis, and how happy she was to have her three children nearby.
Alice showed an early love and affinity for music and became an accomplished cellist, playing throughout college and later with a chamber group in Rome, Italy and the Delhi Symphony Orchestra in New Delhi, India. She sang tenor with the Davis Community Church Choir for many years. Alice was a regular patron of the Mondavi Center’s classical music concerts, and counted as a treasured memento a personal note from cellist Yo-Yo Ma. She also loved Scrabble, playing Mexican train dominoes Monday evenings at URC, aqua aerobics, bridge, and just spending time with her many Davis, PEO and URC friends. She was a regular at the Saturday night movies at URC.
Alice is survived by her three children Betty, Jeff and Kent, their spouses Mike, Kathy and Donna, grandchildren Kevin, Gabriel, Alex, Bradley, Marlene and Greg, and her new great-granddaughter, Emma, as well as numerous nephews and nieces. Her husband Russell died in 2001. She also leaves many close and caring friends.
There will be a memorial celebration of her life on May 19, 2013, from 1-3 p.m. in the Auditorium at University Retirement Center, 1515 Shasta Ave. in Davis. In lieu of flowers, we welcome donations to your local Hospice. Hospice By the Bay in Marin helped to make her final transition gentle and peaceful, for which we are eternally grateful.