William A. Olson
July 1, 1923 – November 8, 2018
William Andreas Olson, former City Attorney of the City of Houston and founder of the Houston law firm Olson & Olson LLP, died peacefully in Normandy Park, Washington, on November 8, 2018. He was 95 years of age.
Mr. Olson was born July 1, 1923, in Waco, Texas. He attended public schools in Waco, but his college education was suspended while he served in the United States Army during World War II. He achieved the rank of Captain by the age of twenty, was a Battery Commander in the Field Artillery and was deployed in combat for two and one-half years in North Africa and Italy. Following the war he attended Baylor University and Baylor Law School, from which he graduated in 1950. In 1959, Mr. Olson became the first general counsel of the Texas Municipal League in Austin. After serving in that capacity for four years, he was in private practice for a brief period before his appointment as City Attorney for the City of Houston. He served in that position from 1966 until 1974. After leaving the City he again entered private practice, which evolved into the formation of Olson & Olson LLP, one of the preeminent law firms in the State of Texas specializing in municipal law. Mr. Olson’s representation of cities and city officials throughout the State, both as general counsel and as a litigator of issues relating to virtually every facet of local government, made him one of the most recognized authorities in the field of municipal law. Of his many accomplishments, the one for which he was most proud was the representation, along with his brother Lyndon, of Hank Avery in the landmark case of Avery v Midland County. This case, ultimately decided by the United States Supreme Court, extended the constitutional rule of “one-man, one vote” to local governments. In addition to his professional achievements, Mr. Olson served as general counsel of the Texas City Attorneys Association, Chair of the Public Utility Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Municipal Studies of the Southwestern Legal Institute, Chair of the Committee on Water and Water Resources of the National Institute of Law Officers, member of the Texas Constitution Committee and the Committee on Coordination With Other Legal Organizations of the State Bar of Texas, President of the Texas City Attorneys Association, member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Municipal League, and sat on multiple committees and boards of various organizations throughout the State. During his career he wrote numerous articles and publications, and was a frequent speaker on a wide variety of subjects in the field of municipal law.
Mr. Olson is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Anita M. Olson, of Normandy Park, Washington, children Suzanne O. Waldrep of Waco, Texas, William A. Olson, Jr., and wife Sandy, of Horseshoe Bay, Texas, John F. Olson and wife Karen, of Pine, Colorado, Judy O. Dell’Osso and husband Mario, of Crockett, Texas, grandchildren Deborah Acker and husband Rod, of The Woodlands, Texas, Caroline O. Ford and husband Jason, of Waco, Texas, David W. Olson and wife Kaela, of Houston, Texas, Brian J. Olson and wife Lane, of Dallas, Texas, Dr. Jennifer R. Kubista and husband Dr. Richard Kubista, of Golden, Colorado, John F. Olson, Jr., and wife Alyssa, of Littleton, Colorado, David A. Dell’Osso and wife Kathryn, of Austin, Texas, John P. Dell’Osso and wife Naabia, of Washington, D.C., fifteen great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren, and nephews Lyndon L. Olson, Jr., and wife Kay, of Waco, Texas, and Charles D. Olson and wife Kris, of Waco, Texas. Mr. Olson is also survived by extended family members Michele M. Heller and husband Steve, of Lopez Island, Washington, Diane Brissenden and husband Stephen, of Normandy Park, Washington, Ronald W. Cook and wife Lynne, of Dallas, Texas, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Mr. Olson was preceded in death by his parents, Col. Ernest A. Olson and Beth Fuller Olson, brothers Fuller Olson and Lyndon L. Olson, sister-in-law Frances M. Olson, son-in-law Larry S. Waldrep, and his beloved wife of 66 years, Virginia M. Olson.
A graveside Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 PM, Saturday, December 8, 2018, at Memorial Oaks Cemetery, 13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care (University Place, Washington) or other charity of choice.
- Anita M. Olson, Wife
- Suzanne O. Waldrep, Daughter
- William A. Olson, Son
- Sandy Olson, Daughter-in-law
- John F. Olson, Son
- Karen Olson, Daughter-in-law
- Judy O. Dell'Osso, Daughter
- Mario Dell'Osso, Son-in-law
- Deborah Acker (husband Rod), Granddaughter
- Caroline O. Ford (husband Jason), Granddaughter
- David W. Olson (wife Kaela), Grandson
- Brian J. Olson (wife Lane), Grandson
- Jennifer R. Kubista (husband Dr. Richard), Granddaughter
- John F. Olson Jr. (wife Alyssa), Grandson
- David A. Dell'Osso (wife Kathryn), Grandson
- John P. Dell'Osso (wife Naabia), Grandson
- Also left to cherish fond memories of William are fifteen great grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren, nephews: Lyndon (Kay) Olson, Charles (Kris) Olson; extended family members Michele (Steve) Heller, Diane (Stephen) Brissenden, Ronald (Lynne) Cook, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Memorial Service at Texas Liberty Mausoleum
Saturday, December 8, 2018
William A. Olson
December 8, 2018
Mr. Olson was a friend of of my father, Ike M. Singer, who was city attorney at Corpus Christi. I heard many great stories about him. I met him only once at Pines Presbyterian Church where we were both members.
With Sympathy ,
Robert S. Singer
December 6, 2018
I met Bill Olson Sr. in my first city job as a management analyst in Denison, TX, 1974. He was selected to provide counsel to the Charter Review Commission, and I worked closely with him as he provided direction and advice to the Commission. There was at least one tumultuous meeting when I thought fisticuffs might break out between a former mayor on the commission and an unruly member old strong-mayor regime, but the Commission approved the revision and the public voted for it. Everything I learned about city charters from Olson Sr. helped me in my city managerial career.
He also provided legal consultation to Denison on an as-needed basis. When the city was sued by a former employee whom I had fired, I recounted to Olson Sr. my reasons for firing the guy which included that “he was a bad apple in the barrel”. He strongly and emphatically warned me to never use that term as a reason for firing someone, because it is vague and hard to pinpoint. Fortunately, he was able to clean-up my poor handling of a termination. I learned from that.
I consider Bill Olson Sr. as the ultimate professional based upon his integrity, behavior, conduct, knowledge, expertise, and self-control. He was amazingly smooth in his presentation of information and his response to hostile questions. I don’t know if anything could rattle him.
He added value to my life and especially my professional career; and that continued through his son, Bill, and grandson, David. RIP Bill Olson Sr.
December 2, 2018
I am deeply saddened to hear of Bill Olson's death. Bill and my own father, Jack Schenk, were born a month apart in 1923 and were both part of that Greatest Generation that served their country with dignity and honor to keep America free. While my dad was my personal mentor, Bill was my professional mentor. I have always considered it one of the great honors of my life when he hired me to join his law firm when it was in somewhat of its infancy. It was also somewhat intimidating, since I knew Bill (it's still difficult for me to call him Bill; back then it was always " Mr. Olson", although he never insisted on that formality) by reputation from my time in the Houston City Attorney's office. I have never been treated better than I was by Bill and the rest of the firm: Bill Jr., John, Bob, and Mario. I never learned more about the practice of law, and especially municipal law, than I did during that time. He always treated me with respect and was brave enough to "let me do my thing" with my clients, yet it was always comforting to know if I was stumped I could always ask for his help; his door was always open. I was always impressed with his sincere love of the practice of law as well as his deep commitment to his family. In short, he was one of the greatest individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I share his family's grief at his passing. May God's Blessing be on you all. Sincerely, Larry Schenk.
Brenda and Frank Apollo
November 27, 2018
To the Olson Family,
I was so deeply sadden to hear of Mr. Olson's passing. He was my mentor and my friend for more than thirty years and I will always remember his kind smile, his quick laughter, his astounding memory, his wealth of knowledge, and his sharp wit. May he rest in peace and may your many fond memories with him help to ease your pain and heal your hearts.
With much love and sympathy,
Brenda and Frank Apollo
November 23, 2018
To the Family,
My sincere condolences to you all on the loss of your dear loved One. I know that this is a very difficult time for you. The loss of a precious family member and the pain that we experience from that lost is not easy. May you find comfort and strength in Jehovah God’s words at Revelation 21:4, which gives us a sure promise that death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry, nor pain be anymore. I pray that He will grant you peace at this most difficult time. I am so sorry.
November 22, 2018
Please accept my condolences my for the passing of your dear loved one William. The “God of all comfort” understands your pain and is “near to those broken-hearted and crushed.” He will be a source of comfort to you at this difficult time. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4; Psalms 34:18) May your hearts find peace and comfort from all those around you.