Dr. Olden Edwards Paris

Paris Dr. Olden Edwards Paris of Davis, California passed away on September 20, 2013 at the age of 85. Olden was born on October 19, 1927 in Tacoma, Washington to the late Louis Olden and Catherine Beers Paris. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Seattle in 1945. While in high school, Olden assumed the role of cook for the family while his mother worked at Sand Point Navy Yard repairing aircraft damaged in the Pacific Theatre. A high school pastime was carving wooden models of World War II aircraft, work so accomplished that his models were used to educate civilian aircraft spotters. Mr. Paris graduated from Harvard University in 1949 with a degree in organic chemistry. One of the great joys of his college years was singing with the Harvard Glee Club; the highlight for him was performing with the Boston Symphony under the baton of Director Serge Koussevitzky. Awarded his Ph.D. degree in organic polymer chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology in the spring of 1953, Olden went to work as a research chemist for the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware. His work at DuPont was principally in the area of rocket propellants and explosives. Choral music continued to be a passion during Olden's Wilmington years, most notably as a member of the Orpheus Club. While in college, Olden met his first wife, Alice Leila Blue, whom he married in 1950. Olden and Alice had three children together, Cathy, Stephen, and David. Although the marriage ended in 1970, the couple enjoyed many fine years together with their children. Favorite family activities included road trips, camping, and downhill skiing; memories of these happy times are still warm in their children's hearts. In September 1970, Olden left Wilmington for Columbus, Ohio, to work for Chemical Abstracts Service, for whom he prepared abstracts of papers on organic polymer chemistry published in English, French, and German. He worked for CAS until his retirement in 1992, continuing part-time there until 2009. His ongoing love of choral music led him to join the Columbus Symphony Chorus, of which he was an active member for 39 years. One of his proudest moments was singing with the Symphony Chorus at Carnegie Hall in April 2001. He also took part in several operatic productions, including Aida and The Magic Flute, performed by the Columbus Symphony Opera. Olden met his second wife, Gail Davenport, in Columbus; they married in 1973. Olden was a devoted stepfather to Gail's three children, George, Eric, and Kathryn, whom he loved as his own. Gail and Olden were true pioneers in sustainable living, growing an organic garden, composting kitchen and lawn waste, and working for the CURB recycling program as far back as the early 1970s. The couple's interests were active and diverse: together they participated in the Gourmet Group, a set of four couples who met monthly to share conversation and an exceptional meal; traveled internationally, undertaking a month-long bicycle trip across England, a trek through Nepal, and a Kenyan safari; and served as volunteer docents at the Columbus Zoo, educating visitors about the animals and their behavior. Olden lost Gail to cancer in August 1998, having cared for her faithfully during her months of illness. In 2006, Olden was married for the third time, to Myrna Jean Marple of Davis, California, with whom he had shared a special friendship when they were students together at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. Olden and Myrna moved from Columbus to Davis in October 2009, living most recently at the University Retirement Community. Music was a love they shared: the couple sang together in the choir of the Davis Unitarian Universalist Society and often performed for fellow residents at the retirement community. Olden is survived by his wife Myrna; his brother, Daniel; and sister-in-law, Frances Howes Paris of Portland, Maine; and sister-in-law, Eleanor Paris of Frederick, Maryland. Also surviving him are daughter, Cathy Paris and family of Jericho, Vermont; son, David Paris of Columbus, Ohio; daughter-in-law Elaine Brill Paris, also of Columbus; stepdaughter, Kathryn Verwillow and family of Palo Alto, California; stepson, Eric Ver Ploeg and family of Menlo Park, California; stepson, George Noel and family of Longview, Texas; stepson, Alan Woodhead and wife Shelley of Sacramento, California; stepson, Jeffrey Woodhead of Davis, California; niece, Susan Paris and family of South Portland, Maine; niece, Bonnie Paris of Portland, Maine; and nephew, Dan Paris and wife Patti of Anchorage, Alaska. Olden was preceded in death by his brother Troxell of Seattle, Washington, and his son Stephen of Columbus, Ohio. Olden Paris was a man of incredible warmth, courtesy, and sweetness. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends. Two memorial gatherings are planned, one at 3 p.m at the University Retirement Community in Davis, California on October 19, 2013, and another in Columbus, Ohio, where Olden lived for nearly 40 years. Details of that gathering will be announced presently.

Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Oct. 6, 2013