He gave so much to so many--he will be remembered forever for his feeling of family, his sense of humor and his love of life.
  • 80 years old
  • Born on June 20, 1934 in San Jose, California, United States.
  • Passed away on May 9, 2015 in Mountain View, California, United States.

Ron Olmstead, a fifth generation Californian, passed away peacefully on Saturday, surrounded by family members.

 Born in San Jose in 1934, Ron was proud of his heritage as a member of one of Santa Clara Valley’s pioneer farm families.  He was a graduate of Palo Alto High School where he played football and baseball.  Ron was a member of the 1950 Paly football team that went 10-0 under legendary coach, Hod Ray.    

 After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Ron worked for many years as an engineer in the aerospace industry before joining his family’s summer training camp business, the United Spirit Association.  Ron directed USA camps for thousands of young people throughout the Western United States.  An early proponent of positive coaching, Ron was one of the founders of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) in the Bay Area and conducted the first AYSO training camps at U.C. Santa Cruz. Ron played a key role in the production of the Opening Ceremonies for Super Bowl XIX, the Olympic Soccer Tournament and the 1994 World Cup.

 In retirement, Ron pursued his interest in California history and the Lester/Cilker/Olmstead Family genealogy.  He was a prolific storyteller with extensive knowledge of the region’s history.

Ron lived in Los Osos, San Juan Bautista, and Mariposa before returning to his roots in Palo Alto.  Ron demonstrated courage in his final years, never losing his positive attitude and sense of humor.

 Ron is survived by his devoted wife of 28 years, Jo, his children Edward Olmstead and Anne Tierney, his grandson Nico, and his brothers Alan, Doug, and Michael.

 Memorial gifts may be made in Ron’s name to the Stanford Medical Center Lymphoma Program.


Posted by Monica Kresse on 20th June 2018
Still think of you and we all miss and love you. A wonderful man taken away from us too soon. His: warmth, generosity, smile and contributions live on. The Kresses' would love to have Jo/Family meet up with us soon. Love, Monica
Posted by Kent Byers on 20th June 2017
Ron, Your smile and light still bring joy to me. You were a star to so many of us. That star will shine brightly forever, to all the lives you touched. Miss you.
Posted by Kent Byers on 30th May 2016
Ron IS a light in all the lives he touched. He was always so encouraging and positive. It was infectious. He was truly a gift to all who were blessed to call him a friend. God speed by friend...your light shines on through all those whose lives you were able to touch. Cheers!
Posted by Margy Olmstead on 13th May 2016
Always in our hearts!
Posted by Dana Mandell on 24th December 2015
As the year comes to a close, one often pauses to reflect on the past. In going through some old things, I came across a "participant pass" to a 49er's game almost 30 years ago. It brought back memories of Ron, known to me as Edward's father all throughout my youth. Ron had a great inventiveness. I will always remember the worlds smallest "penny farthing" bicycle that Ron made by modifying a tricycle for little Annie. She was riding that bike before most kids her age were riding tricycles. Ron was a great story teller. I will never forget going on the trips to the cabin in Mendocino and the stories he would tell in the evening. Just scary enough to keep us kids interested, but not scary enough to give us nightmares. And I remember Ron from AYSO soccer, where he pushed us to be better but always in a positive way. Although I have lost touch with the Olmstead family in recent years, I will always remember Ron as an important part of shaping my childhood that will stay with me forever. Thank you, Ron.
Posted by Michael Olmstead on 31st May 2015
Just a reminder that we will be having an informal celebration of Ron's life tomorrow from 12pm-3pm at the Mitchell Park Community Center on Middlefield Rd. in Palo Alto tomorrow, Sunday, May 30th. Come join us for a little lunch and story telling. All are welcome.
Posted by Edward Olmstead on 22nd May 2015
I wrote to my Aunt Connie, up in Canada, regarding dad's passing away. This was her reply... "I was saddened to receive your message of your Dad's passing Ed. I am sorry that I never had the pleasure of meeting him. Aunt Beulah always spoke so highly of Ron and I know he will be missed by his family. Love, Connie"
Posted by Edward Olmstead on 22nd May 2015
I wrote to Bob and Phoebe McFarlane, who knew our dad and mom in the late 1960's, in Palo Alto. Bob McFarlane sent this very nice reply... "Thank you very much for your note and photos. They brought back many memories. Your Dad was a very good friend and we had many interests in common. Both of our boys played in the American Youth Soccer group in Palo Alto in about 1967 through 1970, just before we moved to Saudi Arabia. I assume you did as well. I remember very well a fishing trip your Dad, myself and another friend from Stanford, Bill Christie made to the Sierras sometime in the late 1960's. I think your Dad had a new car and we drove it on the trip. Just above Sonora, on the way to the pass, Bill Christie, who was driving, took a curve too fast and we headed off the road. The area was full of ravines and one large canyon and I was sure we were all going to all die and as the final thoughts of my life were flying through my head the only thing that came out was, "Oh shit!". However we didn't get hurt although we tore up your Dad's car and it had to be towed back to Sonora at about 10pm. We managed to find a hotel room for the night and after calming down a bit went to sleep. In the morning we arranged for the car to be fixed in Sonora and then thought to ourselves that since we couldn't do too much else there we had only two alternatives. One to return to Palo Alto and the second to rent a car and continue on with our trip. We chose the second and had a great time fishing near Mammoth Lakes on the Eastern slope of the Sierra. We returned to Palo Alto in the rental car and after your Dad's car was fixed I rode with him to pick it up and return home. At no time during the trip did your Dad get upset. He just figured we were all lucky to escape injury and never blamed Bill for his driving. I might have. That was very typical of your Dad. He was a very good friend that I liked to associate with and was extremely easy to get along with. We won't be able to attend the remembrance affair in Palo Alto since we will be attending the college graduation of one of our grandsons in Virginia. However please add our blessings for your Dad to the others and know that he was a wonderful friend of both of us. Bob and Phoebe McFarlane"
Posted by Margy Olmstead on 19th May 2015
Ron, my dear brother-in-law, was such a delight! We had many fun visits and phone-talks-- he had so many amazing stories and such wit and insight. And kindness. And generosity of spirit. And good humor. I loved his laugh- all the Olmstead brothers share that particular laugh- but Ron was the original . Doug and I will miss him very much. Margy Olmstead
Posted by Michael Olmstead on 18th May 2015
We will have a Celebration of Life for Ron on Sunday, May 31st from Noon to 3pm at the Mitchell Park Community Center at 3700 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. We will have lunch and share stories. Bring any photos or memorabilia that you would like to display. Casual dress. RSVP to: Ed Olmstead, denna2000@sbcglobal.net 510-535-1699
Posted by Monica Kresse on 16th May 2015
Ron will always be a brother-in-law to me even though he's my brother-in-law's brother. That is how fond I will always be of Ron. When I would see Ron at family holidays and gatherings, he made me feel like immediate family and special. He was always: soft spoken, kind, funny, upbeat (No matter what life was throwing at him), a great conversationalist and avid listener. He gave great hugs too! My only regret was not having more time with Ron. I will miss Ron and his wonderful/warm smile. You will always be loved! Love, Monica (Mo)
Posted by Jean Denning on 14th May 2015
A very special life has passed from our sight…but never from our hearts. Cousin Ron will always be remembered as such a kind, fun, knowledgeable, and family man…one who always went out of his way to keep in touch. We will miss his phone calls and visiting with him at family gatherings. And to his family, please know that our hearts are with you and how much we care. Love, Jean and family
Posted by Fred Lester on 14th May 2015
"Imagine," if only every family had a Ron. The consummate family-man, mentor, educator, confidant and champion. I will forever regret not spending more time with him. I so loved his stories...
Posted by Michael Olmstead on 14th May 2015
Ron was a very important family member to me in that he showed me what it meant to be family. The way that he would call and be interested in what I was doing, or come to my soccer games and support me when he had time, not only meant a lot to me, but also proved that you didn't have to live with someone, or talk to someone everyday to show them that you cared; just knowing he was there when I needed him was enough. Ron changed me with the presence and energy he had in my life. I, and the people who were lucky enough to have him support them, will miss him dearly. Alys Olmstead
Posted by Read Zaro on 14th May 2015
I would just like to express my condolences to the family. I knew Ron through providing bands etc. for the Spirit Camps for a few years. He was a very nice guy and The Olmsteads, were great clients. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time and I am so sorry for your loss. Read
Posted by Stephanie Kresse on 13th May 2015
I have so many fond memories of Ron. I always appreciated his ready smile, thoughtful style and kindness. I looked forward to seeing him at family gatherings and hearing his stories. He was always warm and friendly. I will miss him dearly. My heart goes out Jo, his children, grandchildren and all family members. He will be truly missed. Much love to you from Stephanie and family

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