James Olson died March 10 from sepsis resulting from a gall bladder infection according to his family.
Olson was born May 3, 1933 in Curwensville, Pa., and came to Washington in the 1950s according to Jerry Goldberg, his partner of nearly 50 years. He served two years in the U.S. Navy and spent a year in Greece on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Olson earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Penn State and a master’s from Middlebury College in Vermont. He taught French in Montgomery County high schools for several years until he decided to attend dental school. He received his DDS from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus in 1973 and subsequently had an office on I Street and later on Connecticut Avenue. He was one of the first to put his professional card in the Blade. Olson retired in 2000. He also had a degree in mortuary science.
Olson and Goldberg traveled extensively including two safaris, South and East Africa, Southeast Asia, a Black Sea cruise, Russia and the Baltics, and many visits to France.
Olson loved opera and could recognize voices instantly. He and Goldberg were long-time subscribers to the Washington National Opera and also frequently attended the Met in New York.
In addition to his partner, he is survived by his sister, Marlene Haversack, his niece Jamie Wilson, and his nephews Steven and Eric Haversack.
Memorial-related inquiries may be addressed to Goldberg at 202-966-4589.