Leonard T Olson

July 30, 1931April 4, 2018

Leonard Theodore “Ted” Olson passed away peacefully on April 4, 2018 in State College, PA at the age of 86. Ted is survived by his wife, Esther Olson, three daughters; Linda Fisher (Barry) of Atlanta, GA, Erica (Tom) Nodell of State College and Kristine (Dave) Holmes of Tullahoma, TN, and six grandchildren; Emily Fisher, Taylor, Connor and Kristen Nodell, and Bradley and Grace Holmes. Ted was born in Chicago, IL to Leonard and Edna Olson. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1949-1953 and was stationed in Alaska during the Korean War. He was a member of the State College Presbyterian Church. After attending the University of South Carolina, University of Oslo and Brooklyn College, he earned a B.E.E. at C.C.N.Y. and a M.E.E., plus graduate Ph.D. work at Syracuse University. Ted worked for IBM for 32 years as an Electrical Engineer in Advanced Computer Design. To his credit, he obtained 16 U.S. Patents, 28 Technical Invention Disclosures, numerous Publication Achievement Awards, including the “Outstanding Technical Paper” of the year award in 1981 from the International Society for Hybrid Microelectronics. In 2003, 12 years after retiring, IBM presented him with a corporate award for an outstanding Patent. Ted married Esther, his beloved wife of 62 years in Brooklyn, NY. They moved to Wappingers Falls, NY in 1959. Ted was an active competitor in many sports such as baseball, football, basketball, weightlifting, softball and golf. Track & Field was without a doubt his favorite sport. His over 65-year track career began as a cross-county runner, hurdler and six foot high jumper in high school. In college he added throwing events which would later be his specialty. His participation in Masters Track & Field has led to numerous National titles, American and World records and medals in world competition. He continued to compete until the age of 84. In 2002 he was inducted into the USA Masters Hall of Fame for Track and Field. In 2001 his book titled “Masters Track and Field, A History” was published. He devoted thousands of hours to coaching and directing sports activities. In 1964 Ted saw a need for girls to be more involved in sports and physical fitness. He started track team for girls at the YMCA and his first two daughters were able to participate. He named the team the “Poughkeepsie Y-ettes”. This was the beginning of his love for coaching and promoting physical fitness. Beginning in 1967 he was the Head Coach for the Marist College Track & Field Team for ten years and the Cross-country team for 5 years. He coached the YMCA Track & Field and cross country teams, served as director of numerous indoor and outdoor track meets, officiated at numerous AAU track meets and coached local church basketball and softball teams. In the 1960’s, Ted was involved with the development of physical fitness standards for children which became part of physical education in schools and was introduced in 1966 as the Presidential Fitness Awards. He was recognized in Washington, D.C. in 1970 with one of the top 12 national awards for his leadership and devotion to physical fitness by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Later he served as throwing coach at the University of Vermont for six years, followed by five years of coaching at SUNY Binghamton. Throughout his career he organized and conducted Track & Field meets for both open and Masters athletes. He was a certified USATF Official and chairman of the All-American Standards committee. In recent years he officiated at Penn State track meets. The funeral service will be on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. at State College Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow at the church. Pastor Mike Ozaki will officiate the ceremony. Military Honors will accorded at the church. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Ted’s life.Interment will be in Volusia Memorial Park, Ormond Beach, FL. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Diabetes Association or the charity of your choice. The Bennett and Houser Funeral Home, Inc. of Clearfield are in charge of the arrangements. To send online tributes go to or


  • Funeral Service Saturday, April 14, 2018

Leonard T Olson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Marty McGowan

May 15, 2018

Len Olson was my Cross Country Coach at Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY for the 1971 fall cross country season .
He was a very low key coach at a time in my life when I need a low key coach . I learned many positive things about life from Len Olson, and I'm forever grateful to him for believing in me both as an athlete and as a person.

Marty McGowan
Marist College Class of 1973