Richard A. Olivas

Date of Birth

April 29, 1932

Date of Death

July 8, 2017

Richard A. Olivas was born in Santa Barbara on April 29, 1932, the son of Jesus Najera Olivas and Eliza Gaitan. He died at his home in Santa Barbara on July 8, 2017 surrounded by his family and cared for by his beloved wife, Janice Casserly-Olivas and his loving daughter in law, Luz Cruz Diaz.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Jan Casserly Olivas; stepdaughter Amanda Blackmore, stepson Terrence Casserly (Eugenia Pappas) , sons of the heart, Werner Diaz ( Lucy Cruz) and Dr. Luis Diaz; grandchildren Nathan and Natalie Blackmore, Joshua Jimenez, son of Alex Jimenez (predeceased), Socrates Casserly, Kevin Diaz, Byron Diaz (Cynthia Villalobos); great grandson Robert Diaz: brother Alfred Olivas (Rosemary Olivas).

Richard was the youngest son of four children. His father worked on local ranches and became a stone artisan. In his youth, he loved roaming the hills of Toro Canyon.

Richard attended elementary school in Summerland and Aliso School in Carpinteria during the era of segregation. He was proud of his Mexican heritage and specifically of his mother, Eliza Olivas, who fought for the rights of Mexican children to have equal education. He attended Carpinteria High School enjoying an outstanding football record and graduated in 1950.

As a young man he worked a series of odd jobs before he joined the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. His smile and winning ways in the service led to his appointment as a gymnasium manager in a Naval facility in Honolulu, Hawaii.

His professional life included sales at Culligan Water Company in Santa Barbara where he was highly successful and named Salesman of the Year winning a European trip. He then worked for Rayne Water for the remainder of his career selling soft water units and became an expert on reverse osmosis. Following his work at Rayne, he managed properties in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Isla Vista. His mantra was “I’ll take care of this!”.

Richard leaves a rich legacy as a “father figure” and mentor to hundreds of young people. Richard raised many children, none of whom were his own.

He was deeply loved and respected. He was the role model who was always there to listen and counsel.

His favorite pastime was fishing at the Channel Islands from his beloved boat Pajuki or traveling to Mexico for deep sea fishing with his best friends Andres Famania (Puerto Vallarta) and Jose Vazquez (Carpinteria). He taught countless children how to fish while spending much of his time untangling their lines from island kelp beds.

He was a proud Lion and served as President of the Uptown Lions Club in the 1990’s. He was a member of the Santa Barbara-Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities Committee for over 30 years and welcomed many exchange students into his home. He served on the board and was always there to help.

He developed many very close friendships in Puerto Vallarta.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 26, 2017, at 11:00AM at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara Church, 1535 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Reception follows the service. Richard can be remembered by memorial gifts to the Santa Barbara Cancer Center or Visiting Nurses and Hospice Care, Santa Barbara.


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