After nearly fifty years as a widow, Olive Violet Osterwise O'Mara was reunited with her husband, David, on Thursday, July 28, 2022. Olive was born February 21, 1920, in Scottdale, Pennsylvania. She was the oldest of the five children of Robert Russell Osterwise and Violet Jane Watson Osterwise.
Olive's family was poor financially, but rich in intellect. Her parents encouraged her to go as far as she could educationally, and Olive skipped two grades and entered college at sixteen. After receiving her degree, she taught school in Scottdale until the call came for women to join the armed services in World War II. Olive enlisted in the WAVES-the women's branch of the Navy-and after testing, became one of only two women on the East Coast to be assigned as electrician's mates.
She took a test for electrician's mates in a classroom full of men. She finished the questions, saw no one else was done, and so went back over her answers. Finally, she just got up, put her test on the desk and started to walk out. She heard a couple of the men say, "Oh, poor woman, she couldn't do it and gave up." The Navy couldn't find her to report her score because although her paper clearly said Olive Osterwise, they assumed the test must belong to an Oliver Osterwise since they were sure no woman could score as high as she did. Olive was always glad that she helped break down stereotypes and that the world is different for her daughter, granddaughters, and great granddaughters.
Among her other duties, Olive worked in the office of confidential communications in New York City and was one of the very first people in the United States to know that the war in Europe had ended. Of course, since the communications were confidential, she could not share that information with anyone until it was made public. (In fact, Olive was so careful about not revealing confidential information that her children did not even know that story until long after the war ended. Apparently, she felt it was probably acceptable to share that information some twenty years after the entire world knew the war was over!) She was always honored to have been able to serve her country and was pleased that her husband had also served in the war.
Olive was a proud veteran and member of the American Legion Post 49. She and the family are grateful for the kind attention the members of the post always gave her. She was also an involved member of the WAVES of the Wasatch. Olive and David taught their children to love and respect the USA.
Olive taught school for forty years, and especially loved teaching reading. She chose to teach in inner city schools because she wanted to inspire children who came from less-advantaged backgrounds to respect themselves and their families and to love learning.
Olive married David Logan O'Mara, and they had only 21 years together before he passed away in September 1972, but she knew they belonged together. They were sealed in the Provo Temple. Olive wanted her three children to have all the experiences she could crowd in, so they chased tornadoes, watched the re-enactment at the centennial in Gettysburg, tried to visit a Lincoln Museum in the middle of the night (Olive was so tired it didn't occur to her that the museum would not be open at 3 AM), and made detours to visit museums wherever they travelled.
Olive was a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and cherished her testimony. She served a mission at the Washington DC Temple and after moving to Utah served also at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City.
She was also a deeply involved grandmother, driving cross country by herself to visit her six grandchildren in Pittsburgh and being a support in every way to her six Utah grandchildren. She played with them, helped them with homework, and relished all their achievements. Olive moved to River Meadows Senior Living as she became less mobile, and she loved and cherished the many friendships she made there. Although she did not enjoy being less mobile, Olive continued to try to learn-- reading voraciously, trying to master string theory and M-theory in her early 90s, and studying Latin until a few months before her death. During that time, for reasons that bewilder her family, she amassed a huge supply of combs, paperclips, and shoes. If we encounter a paperclip or comb or size 9 shoe shortage, blame it on Olive. She'll be chuckling from the other side.
Olive's husband, David Logan O'Mara, Sr., her parents, her sisters Odessa and Ruth, and her brother Robert (Bob) all preceded her in death.
Olive is survived by her three children-David Logan O'Mara , Jr. of Haymarket , Va.; Mary Christine O'Mara Jensen (Kelly) of Alpine; and John Richard O'Mara of Salt Lake City, and her sister, Dr. Marjorie TaVoularis of Las Vegas. She also leaves behind twelve grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren who she was convinced were absolutely perfect.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at 11 AM at the Alpine Eighth Ward chapel, 890 North Heritage Hills Drive, Alpine, Utah 84004. Those unable to attend the service may join by Zoom at https://zoom.us/j/95437245160 . A viewing will be held prior to the service from 10 AM to 10:45 AM. Olive will be buried beside her beloved husband at Highwood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA.