U.S. Navy Capt. Gerard Robert Olson, who loved to tell everyone that he preferred to be known as Daddy ‘O,’ passed away peacefully, into the hands of the Lord Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, only five days after the celebration of his 87th birthday.
Born Aug. 5, 1931, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Robert and Helen Olson, he was the last surviving member of “the Olson brothers.” He was preceded in death by his older infant brother, Gerald, and two younger brothers, Tom and Bobby.
Daddy ‘O’ is survived by his loving wife of 21 years, Mary Louise (Rockwell) Olson, better known as “Mary Lou,” and was preceded in death by his first wife, Anne Elizabeth (Timmons) Olson, to whom he was married for 40 years. He was loved and will be missed by his four children and their families, Sue and Jerry Cox, and their three children, Nathan, Natalie (husband, Charles Crandall, great-grandchild Henry) and Nicholas (wife, Danielle, great-grandchild Calvin), Maryann Olson Barry, and her son, Kevin Barry, Peter Olson, and Eric and Pam Olson, and their two children, Kayla (husband, Taylor Mihaly) and Kyle Olson. Daddy ‘O’ was also adored by his four stepchildren and their families, Bill and Valerie Rockwell, and his daughters, Emily and Megan Rockwell, Thomas Rockwell, David and Elizabeth Rockwell, and their four children, Samantha (step-great-grandchildren, Jacob, Quinn and Finley), Matthew, Lauren and Mary, and Steven and Angela Rockwell, and their five children, Brittany, Sarah, Nicholas, Rachel and Amanda.
Jerry, as he was known in his U.S. Navy days, had an exciting and fulfilling 30-plus year career in the U.S. Navy. He received his Naval Aviator wings in 1954 and went on to a number of commands. This passion took him and his family to multiple Naval bases in the states, and cruises to various ports all over the world. He was proud to serve his family and country, and retired as a captain in 1979.
After retirement he fulfilled a lifelong dream of building houses by working with family at the BECO Construction Company, from where he retired at the age of 86, last year. His lifelong hobby of restoring antique cars, led him to belong to and hold leadership positions with various vintage car clubs in the area. The twilight years of his life were filled with time spent with family, as well as traveling the world with his beloved wife, Mary Lou.
Jerry loved the Lord and was very active as a parishioner at Ascension Catholic Church, where he served in various ministries, including The Knights of Columbus. His strong faith guided him throughout his life, even until his final days on this earth.
A funeral Mass with full military honors will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, Aug. 13, at Church of the Ascension, 4853 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach. A reception will follow in the Ascension Community Center.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Church of the Ascension’s Social Ministry.
Share online condolences with the family at Smith & Williams Funeral Home/Kempsville.