Editors of the New York Times crossword puzzle lost one of their biggest fans on June 13, 2018 with the passing of Estelle Olson. A self-proclaimed eternal optimist, Estelle was valiant until the very end, one day after her 79th birthday.
The eldest of four, Estelle was born in Dover, New Jersey on June 12, 1939 and is survived by sister, Cynthia and brother, William.
Estelle moved to Arizona in 1973, where she settled into life as a young wife and mother in the newly developed The Lakes of Tempe. As manager of a local medical office, she brought to patients and co-workers the common sense and clear-eyed compassion that would define her throughout her life. Stylish and smart, this Jersey girl drove to work in her favorite car, a 1979 silver VW Beetle, with a trademark tongue-in-cheek personalized license plate, 2ND LUV.
Estelle loved to travel, especially by cruise ship, and often recalled a favorite cruise to the Mediterranean with Mike, daughter, Deb, and son-in-law Dale. She loved to crochet, passing along the craft to grand-daughters, whose babies still snuggle in her hand-made blankets. There was always a bouquet of fresh flowers on her table, and she was one of the few people for whom orchids always bloom
Estelle was a proud fan of chick flicks, and watched 'Love Actually' at every opportunity. She loved to joke that her work was done when her son, Scott, finally watched it too. An avid supporter of his musical career, she loved nothing more than to hear about his gigs on the rooftop of the Clarendon hotel or his first gig in Europe, where he performed in a pub in Northern Ireland to an ovation she would have relished. Her favorite song was Scott’s rendition of George Strait’s “The Chair” – or any song he would sing, and when she could no longer physically attend his shows, she would watch him perform via Facetime, bedridden, yet buoyant and bursting with pride.
Following her retirement in 2006, Estelle and her late husband, Mike, settled in Estrella Mountain Ranch, where together they took on the daily challenge of the New York Times and LA Times crossword puzzles. In sickness and in health, they loved nothing more than to host friends and family, to share stories and snacks, to look back and look forward. Early adopters of online-dating, they were a perfect match. Forever his supporter, she indulged his love affair with the Minnesota Vikings while she cheered on her Arizona Diamondbacks. They loved to laugh and travel, and when it was no longer possible to visit the faraway places that called them, they basked in the travels of others, living vicariously through Facetime phone calls and updates on social media.
Moving tenderly through the empty space she leaves behind are her four children, Scott, Deb, Mark, and Glenn, son-in-law, Dale, grandchildren, Shawna, Piper, Amy, and Erin, great-grandchildren, Brenden, Bailey, Brogan, Liam, Walynn, and Kaylee, step-children, Sven and Melissa, and her best friend, Nonie. In lieu of a funeral service, we will honor Estelle’s final wishes with a private gathering for those she loved so well and for so long.
May she rest easy, reunited with her beloved Mike, under a neon moon