Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Eagle Scout, adventurer, businessman, community supporter. So many words aptly describe the long, full life of Harvey B. Olsan. But perhaps the word that suited Harvey best was “mensch.”
From the time he was born on Dec. 10, 1937 in Riverside, California, to the moment he died on Nov. 29, 2020, in Carlsbad, California, Harvey’s bright spirit, sweet smile and deep kindness were blessings to everyone he encountered.
Harvey was the second son of Irving and Edna Olsan, and the lively younger brother of David Olsan. Growing up in Riverside, he helped out at the family’s furniture store, followed both his father and brother in Scouting (where he made lifelong friends and became an Eagle Scout), was involved in the Jewish community, and graduated from Poly High School.
Harvey graduated UCLA with a degree in business administration, and served as an officer in the US Army and later in the U.S. Army Reserve. He returned to Riverside to help run Olsan’s Furniture, which was growing quickly as the Inland Empire expanded.
Harvey was the proud and dear father of three sons with wife Raleigh Newman: Jeremy, Joshua and Matthew. In 1974, Harvey married Liane Fohrman, and became the loving stepdad of Cheryl, Adam and Jonathan. In 1991, with their six children grown, Harvey and Liane closed Olsan’s Furniture, and moved to Orcas Island, Washington. Harvey’s “retirement” was short-lived, as he immersed himself in island life, becoming a real estate broker and serving as a fire commissioner for 18 years.
Harvey and Liane’s home was always a warm, welcoming gathering spot for their many island friends, and was a mecca for their children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In 2018, Harvey and Liane moved closer to family in Carlsbad, California. They were just settling into their lovely new home near the beach when Harvey was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2020. He volunteered to participate in a pioneering treatment study, but ultimately succumbed to the cancer peacefully, at home, with Liane and family by his side.
An online memorial service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. Contact family for information. Donations in Harvey’s memory may be made to Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity or to a charity of your choice. May his memory be for blessing.