Scuba Oceanlife10

Tom Olsen

June 4, 1960 ~ November 9, 2020 (age 60)


Tom was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the oldest of 5 boys.  His family moved to Brandon, Vermont when Tom was in high school and where he graduated from Otter Valley High in 1978.  After school, he joined the Navy, graduating from the Navy Photo School in Pensacola, Florida.  He felt lucky to be stationed as a photographer at the NATO base in Naples, Italy, where he took photos and drove around in his way cool Fiat Spider.  This is where his love of travel and Europe began.  After Italy, he was posted to the USS Kitty Hawk as a photographer, and then to Naval Station Bremerton.  After the Navy, Tom traveled to Central America for a while and eventually landed back in Seattle where he stayed for the rest of his life.

For several years, Tom worked for NOAA as a launch boat driver on the RV Rainier mapping the Alaskan coast.  He loved the adventure and being at sea.  During one of his off seasons, he met Lesa at the Comet Tavern and they began a love affair that lasted for the rest of his life.

Tom left NOAA to work for Fugro Seafloor Surveys International.  At SSI, he was able to continue his sea adventures, sailing all over the world, often phoning Lesa from exotic ports of call and bringing home unique souvenirs as memories of his trips.

 After SSI, Tom indulged his love for woodworking, graduating from Seattle Central Community College’s cabinet making program.  He made beautiful furniture and did extensive renovations on the century-old Central District house that he and Lesa have lived in for 25 years.

Both Tom and Lesa loved to travel and were lucky enough to be able to take many trips around the US and Europe.  In 2010, they took a 6-month sabbatical to Europe, beginning in true Tom fashion by sailing on a freighter from Philadelphia to Antwerp.  He wanted Lesa to have a taste of life at sea and was very disappointed that the sailing was a smooth one. 

After recovering from a bout with cancer, Tom went to work for Dunn Lumber.  He loved the company and his job there, becoming the foreman of the Kirkland store shortly before again being diagnosed with cancer.  Tom was forever thankful for the opportunity to work at Dunn and was hoping to stay there for many years.

Tom is survived by his wife Lesa; his mother Marie Bradbury; his brother and sister-in-law Jim and Tammie; Lesa’s brother and sister-in-law, Scott and Robin May; his brothers Mark and Ed and their spouses; his nephews and nieces, Kyle and Vaughn May, Dustin Olsen, Cassie Olsen, Katie Anderson and Elizabeth Olsen; his grandniece and nephew Arabella and Abel; and many, many good friends.  He was preceded in death by his dad, Edward, his youngest brother Daniel and his beloved cats Jack and Neal.

Tom was kind, generous, caring and had a sly sense of humor. He loved fun.  He was a wonderful and loving husband, son, brother, uncle and friend.  He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

Lesa would like to thank all Tom’s health care providers at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle and Providence Hospice who took care of Tom with such compassion, grace and patience, and also the drivers at Tri-Med who helped get Tom to his appointments those times when he was unable to do so. Tom was grateful for you all. Much thanks also goes out to all the friends and co-workers who gave so much love and support.  Your generosity of spirit meant so much during this difficult time.

Given the COVID crisis, a party will be scheduled for the spring, when hopefully all Tom’s family and friends can get together to share memories and celebrate Tom’s time on Earth.  Please let Lesa know if you would like to attend.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tom’s name to the Swedish Cancer Institute, which will directly benefit the Patient Assistance Fund, which supports patients who face significant financial difficulties while being treated for cancer.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Tom Olsen, please visit our floral store.


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