Mountain View Online - Lasting Memories - Jean Walls Olmsted's memorial

Jean Walls Olmsted
July 6, 1925-Nov. 12, 2018
Palo Alto, CA

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Jean Walls Morosco Olmsted, 93, a 46-year resident of Palo Alto, died on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 at home with her children at her side. Jean's children would like to express their thanks to the caregivers and staff at Homecare California, Vitas, and Home Instead Senior Care and to everyone at Avenidas who helped her live out her life at home as she wished. Jean was born in Los Angeles in 1925 to Eleanor Prescott Walls, born in Los Angeles in 1893, and Albert Harold Morosco, adopted from the St. Paul's Catholic Orphan Asylum of St. Paul, Minnesota in 1892 (b. 1891?). Jean graduated from Escondido High School in 1943, where she worked afternoons with classmates in 1942-43 packing lemons to allow the regular packers to switch to war production. She attended Stanford on a full academic scholarship, graduating in 1947. In 1948, she attended the Radcliffe Management Training Program, where she made lifelong friends including Carolyn Grohne (née Negley) and Margaret Mansfield. Jean was living in an apartment on Haight Street and working for the Public Welfare Department when Carolyn introduced her to Carolyn's cousin Franklin Olmsted. She married Franklin, a USGS Water Resources Department geologist, in 1955. Daughter Ann was born in 1956 in Auburn, California and son Warren in 1959 in Philadelphia. New work assignments led to moves to Idaho Falls, Idaho; Yuma, Arizona; and Reston, Virginia. When Franklin was transferred to the Menlo Park regional headquarters, Jean asked him to find a house in a Palo Alto school district, and they bought a Charleston Meadows Eichler for $28,700 in 1972. Jean worked at Syntex's US headquarters in Palo Alto from 1975 to 1994, in the Regulatory Affairs department. A fearless traveler, Jean visited the Soviet Union in 1976, China in 1980, and every continent except Antarctica, alone or with family or friends. Jean and Franklin rented an apartment in London for several weeks just to see plays. After retirement Jean, along with Franklin and their fellow volunteers, spent many hundreds of hours helping to remove invasive plants including yellow star and Italian thistle, tocalote, broom and stinkwort from Foothills Park. A longtime member of the Peninsula Camellia Society and the Charleston Meadows Association and active participant in city planning discussions, she worked to preserve neighborhood character and pedestrian access. In 1999 she made her proudest contribution to neighborhood preservation by having a coast redwood in Barron Park designated Heritage Tree No. 2. Daughter of an only child and a foundling, teased for "having no relatives," Jean was a staunch friend who made friends everywhere and kept in touch with many of them for life. We were all her family and her best memorial will be the links she made between us. Keep them bright.

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Memorial service
A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fireside Room at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto.
Make a donation
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Second Harvest POST Center for Biological Diversity California Native Plant Society Committee for Green Foothills Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc. Mono Lake Committee National Audubon Society Opera San José Planned Parenthood

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