John Thomas Olney Sr.

John Thomas Olney, Sr.

John Thomas Olney, Sr., age 89, died peacefully on 12/19/2012 at his home in Kenmore, WA of natural causes. John was born at a logging camp in Clallum Bay, WA on August 5th, 1923 to Ruby Wilson and Ralph Olney.

He moved to the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle and attended Lincoln High School before volunteering for WWII. He served in the Navy and then returned to Seattle to complete his education at Edison Vocational School. He went on to have a long and distinguished career as a jeweler and master diamond setter. Before opening his own shop, Olney's J-Set, he worked for Nielsen Manufacturing Jewelers. At J-Set, Olney enjoyed his view from the 10th floor of the Joshua Green Building and serving his many customers including Fox's Gems, Carroll's and other fine jewelry shops throughout the region. John was an institution in the downtown jewelry district and couldn't walk down the street without saying hi to someone. Those that knew him longest would call him Johnny.

John was part of the Greatest Generation serving both in WWII and the Korean War. He always liked sharing stories of the war and all the crazy things that go along with it. One of his favorite stories was having his tonsils removed on a rolling boat in the Navy with local anesthetic!

He met his wife Joanne Handley shortly after WWII and talked of the perilous drive to Portland on Old 99 while he was courting her. They were married at Portland's St. Stephens Catholic Church on August 8, 1948. John loved the Pacific Northwest and all it had to offer. Whether it was crabbing at March Point, fishing at Sekui, or just enjoying a late summer barbeque on the deck. Like many of those of his generation he took care of his business without complaint, provided for his family, and valued all that is great with America. As a child of the Great Depression he knew the value of a dollar, but was always generous to others.

Olney is survived by his wife of 65 years Joanne, daughters Kathy Estey and husband Steve Estey of Seattle, Cindy Lancelot and husband Bob Johnson of Snohomish, and sons John T. Olney, Jr. of Everett, and Tony Olney and wife Mary McHugh of Seattle. His is also survived by 9 grandchildren Nicole Bienkowski, Angie Estey, Brandon Olney, Ryan Olney, Lucas Kometz, Tara Kometz, Emiliy Andvik, Molly Olney, and Bridget Olney and 6 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brothers Herbert Franklin and Richard Wilson Olney, and parents Ruby and Ralph Olney.

At his request there will be no service. Donations can be made to Evergreen Hospice.

Published in The Seattle Times from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22, 2012