Olan R. Lewis

Date of Birth

January 1, 1932

Date of Death

September 30, 2008

City of Death

Santa Barbara

In each of his 76 years, Olan collected and filled his “backpack of human experiences” with a variety of memories and lessons gathered from the trails of his life’s adventure. Following a short illness from cancer, he left us on September 30, with his backpack full and his hiking boots on, rested and ready to explore the new trails of his next experience.

Olan was born in 1932 in Cleburne, TX, and then raised in Vallejo, CA. Following his graduation from Vallejo High School, Olan served in the US Air Force and from 1952 to 1956 during the Korean War, as a radio operator in Massachusetts and Japan. Following his discharge, he studied at Vallejo Jr. College and then received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Art Education and Spanish from San Jose State University in 1960. Olan received his post secondary teaching credential in 1961, and for the majority of his teaching career, taught various subjects, including English and Spanish, at Alameda Encinal High School in Alameda, CA. Following his retirement, Olan lived in the communities of El Cerrito, Lakeport and Hidden Valley Lake, CA. During his final illness he lived in Santa Barbara, CA, with his daughter.

During his life, Olan’s favorite pastimes were hiking with the Sierra Club, researching and compiling his family’s genealogical ancestry, listening to instrumental music, and studying the “mystery of life” from the perspective of the world’s great religions. He was extremely well read and handy, always able to share some personal experience or philosophy, and tackle any household project, big or small.
In accordance with Olan’s wishes, there will be no formal memorial services. Olan will be buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, CA next to his infant son, David, and near his brother, Roy.

Olan is survived by his daughter, Lori, of Santa Barbara, CA; his son, Mike, and Mike’s daughter, Mickenzie, of Santa Cruz, CA; his brother, Bobby, of Napa, CA, and his brother, Eugene, of Powell, TN. Olan will also be missed by many dear friends that he made along the trails of his life, including fellow teachers, hikers and wisdom seekers. Any good “Olan stories” will be welcomed at lorilewis@hotmail.com.

Olan’s family wishes to thank all of physicians and staff at Sansum Clinic and Cottage Hospital for their warm and skillful care during his oncology treatments. Following his decision to discontinue treatment and receive only hospice care, he was graciously supported by Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care, and welcomed lovingly into the hands and home of the staff at Sarah House, where he spent his final weeks. Anyone choosing to make donations in honor of Olan, may wish to donate to the organizations where he had recently made donations (Sierra Club of California at 801 K Street, Suite 2700, Sacramento, CA 95814; Obama for America at POB 802798, Chicago, IL 60680) or support the non-profit organizations that cared for him in his final weeks (Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care, 222 E. Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101; Sarah House, 2612 Modoc Rd., Santa Barbara, California, CA 93101.)

Happy trails to you, Olan! We know that your strong legs and steady feet are paving the way for each of us on our own paths, your big heart and great mind are connected to ours in the beauty and science of nature, and that your big hands and wide arms will welcome us when we see each other again at the top of the mountain. Love, your family and friends.


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