Stanley C. Olsen of Tierra Verde, Florida, Lecanto, Florida and Gilford, New Hampshire passed away at his home on Lake Winnipesaukee surrounded by his loving wife Betty, his children and grandchildren on September 30, 2020, at the age of 92. Stan was an eclectic entrepreneur and visionary, a pioneer in the computer business and, later, a transformative real estate developer in Citrus County, Florida. He was a loving father, husband, grandfather and friend to many.
Born on August 15, 1928, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Stan grew up in nearby Stratford as the third of four children. From an early age, he displayed a talent for technology and the persistence needed to take on and solve the trickiest of problems. As a teenager, he and his brother Ken built and repaired radios in their father's basement workshop.
While a student at the University of Connecticut, Stan met fellow student Betty MacVicar on a bus headed to a New Hampshire camp, part of a college program to help underprivileged children. They became inseparable. Soon thereafter, he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. Stan and Betty married so that they could be together as Stan moved from post to post while he became an expert in automatic radar and later a radar instructor. This would prove to be just the first of many adventures in their 67-plus years of marriage.
After Stan completed his military service, they moved to Massachusetts where Stan worked at MIT, putting his military education and expertise to use helping to build some of the world's first digital computers. Meanwhile, he attended Northeastern University where he completed a Bachelor's degree in Engineering Management at night. In 1957, Stan and Betty moved to Sudbury MA and Stan joined his brother Ken and Harlan Anderson to form a new company in Maynard that planned to build components for computers - Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Over the next 25 years, he served in many leading roles, helping grow DEC into the world's second-largest computer company. Stan especially enjoyed the opportunity to create something from nothing, whether that meant creating new departments, locations, product lines or sales channels.
Inspired by a few visits to New Hampshire's stunning lakes region, Stan and Betty purchased a home on Governors Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in 1966. Stan, Ken, and their families spent many summers together on the lake. In the late 1970s, Stan brought Digital to up to Merrimack, New Hampshire. In the process he discovered his love of developing real estate.
Stan left Digital in 1982 and over the next year sailed with Betty in Florida, the Bahamas, and up the East Coast. They moved to Citrus County, Florida, where Stan partnered with Sam Tamposi and Jerry Nash on the development of the Villages of Citrus Hills. This led to a second career developing businesses and property throughout the region including Meadowcrest, KC Crump restaurant, Rock Crusher Pavilion and Amphitheater, an RV Park and more. Most notably, he created Black Diamond Ranch, a 45-hole Tom Fazio-designed world-class golf course, once rated one of the top 100 golf courses in the world.
Stan served on the boards of many companies and several colleges. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Saint Anselm College and Northeastern University. Stan encouraged others to do what they loved to do. His career advice to friends and family was simply "do more of what you are good at." He passed his entrepreneurial spirit on to his children and grandchildren.
At the spry young age of 82, he said he was finally ready to retire and enjoy, in his own words, "the good life." He loved nature, water, going out to eat and enjoying a glass of red wine, listening to music, mastering Sudoku and spending time with his wife, family and friends.
Stan will be deeply missed by his wife Betty, sons Bruce and Jon, daughters-in-law Paula Donovan Olsen and Carole Dempsey, son-in-law Steve Johns, and six grandchildren: Michaela Olsen (Rob Kovacs), Christine Johns Bell (Tim Bell), Woody Olsen, Molly Olsen, Richard Olsen, and Annie Olsen, four nephews and many other close family members and friends. Stan is predeceased by his brothers Ken and David Olsen, his sister Eleanor Brown and his beloved daughter, Beth Olsen Johns.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, October 9, 2020, at 11 AM at Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford, 4 Church Road, Bedford, NH 03110. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, attendance will be limited to immediate family. It will be live-streamed on the "Bedford Presbyterian Church NH" YouTube page for anyone who wishes to attend virtually. More information about additional events honoring Stan in the coming days and a guest book can be found at https://www.wilkinsonbeane.com/obituaries.html
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Community Food Bank of Citrus County, 5259 W. Cardinal Street, Building B, Homosassa, FL 34446, or the New Hampshire Food Bank, 700 East Industrial Park Drive, Manchester, NH 03109.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services and 603Cremations.com
, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, NH, 03246, is assisting the family with arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial, please visit www.wilkinsonbeane.com
Published by Union Leader on Oct. 4, 2020.