Lakeshore Mortuary

1815 South Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ


Richard Orrin Olson

March 18, 1931March 12, 2020

Richard Orrin Olson passed away peacefully on March 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 88.

Richard was born on March 18, 1931 in Minneapolis, MN to Betsy and Albert Olson. Richard graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Metallurgy Engineering. He married Janelle DeWitt in Florida in 1964, and soon after moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. He worked for over 40 years at Motorola in the semiconductor sector where he was awarded several patents.

Richard loved reading, the nightly news, opera, learning about the geology of Arizona, camping, traveling, and was quite the connoisseur of cookies! Richard was an avid hiker and spent many years leading a hiking group at their church, Scottsdale United Methodist Church. He loved spending time with his two granddaughters (baking cookies of course) and was so proud of them.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Janelle DeWitt Olson, daughter Ellen Olson Stellburg (Brent), granddaughters Emily and Sarah Stellburg and several nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research www.michaeljfox.org or Hospice of the Valley www.hov.org .

We are grateful to the love and care provided by Dr. Naomi Salins at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, Nan Guffey, the caregivers at Hawthorn Memory Care and the team of volunteers and professionals at Hospice of the Valley.

There will be a private graveside burial and a memorial service at a later date when it is safe to do so.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Richard Orrin Olson

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Carol Stellburg

April 4, 2020

Thoughts & prayers to Jannell, Ellen, Emily, Sarah & Brent. I remember when Brent called to ask Richard for Ellen’s hand , Jannell said she picked up the extension because she knew he would not share what was said. As we got to know him & share the girls with him I discovered what a softie he was where they were concerned. He was a gentleman.

Lucy and John Peck

March 23, 2020

Our whole family treasures the more than fifty year friendship with Richard, Janelle and Ellen. We have so many stories and memories of hikes, dinners together, conversations, humorous moments, shared stories and visits of our two families when we lived in two different cities. We will miss Richard always and keep Janelle and Ellen in our hearts during this time of loss.

Love, Lucy and John

Peggy Idema

March 20, 2020

Fifty plus years of memories - Richard, your Janelle loved you dearly. I knew you, because she and I had almost a life-long friendship. I remember you as a brilliant man, always reading the newspaper or watching the news, loving your pup and mostly loving my dear friend, Janelle. May you rest in peace!!

Amy Smalley

March 19, 2020

When Ellen and Brent got married, Krissy and I flew to AZ to be a part of their wedding. Even though we had rented a car, Richard met our plane and escorted us through the airport to the rental car counter to make sure we didn’t have any problems. It was the sweetest gesture!
He was a bright, sweet man and I know he will be missed.

Nan Guffey

March 19, 2020

Richard was intelligent, kind & had a great sense of humor. I really enjoyed caring for him. When he was practicing speech therapy the directions said to speak with intent. He would ask what "with intent" means. I knew he understood it. He was just having difficulty finding the energy. One day, as we were leaving the grocery store, we met a man running into the store with his shopping cart. Richard said, "He is shopping with intent." We both laughed.