November 26, 1935 – February 26, 2019
Byron Olson passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at the age of 83. Despite a diagnosis of Early Onset Parkinson’s in his 40’s, Byron’s mental resilience, perseverance, strength, and creativity allowed him to maintain a lifelong engagement with the theatre and a rich output of art and architecture.
Byron was born on November 26, 1935 to Elmer and Cecelia Olson in Camrose, Alberta, the second oldest of 5 children. Byron graduated from the UBC School of Architecture and worked for the esteemed architectural firm of Erickson and Massey. He later established his own firm and became part of the innovative planning and design team of the Britannia Community Centre in Vancouver. He designed many public buildings and private residences in the Lower Mainland and the Kootenays, including the Kimberley and Sparwood Public Libraries, Trickle Creek Golf Clubhouse, and the Cranbrook Alliance Church. Byron’s love of wilderness and the environment informed many of his ecologically friendly designs.
While at UBC, Byron was very involved in the Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC). He was an accomplished mountaineer, enjoyed skiing, rock climbing and building cabins in unique and surprising places. He scaled Mount Waddington twice and was active in mountain rescue. Byron’s love of adventure and travel took him all over the world.
In Byron’s later years, he dedicated more time to painting, drawing, and cartooning. He wrote many plays which were produced by Cranbrook and Kimberley Community Theatres. One of his proudest moments was winning Best Director in BC for his work directing the play Oleana at the Mainstage Festival (2004).
Byron will be remembered for his kindness, sense of humour, and community engagement. His actions and the legacy of his buildings will continue to inspire and touch the lives of many.
Byron is survived by his soul mate Penny Ohanjanian; daughters Oona (Jordan) and Rebecca and son Aaron; grandchildren Charlie and Benjamin; sister Donna (Bob) Luce; brothers Dr. Ted Olson, Daryl (Leslie) Olson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
There will be a CELEBRATION OF BYRON’S LIFE on Sunday, March 24th at 2:00 pm at Centre 64 in Kimberley.
Arrangements entrusted to McPherson Funeral Service.