Services Announced for Jon Olin

Jon Olin

From the family:

It is with a broken heart that the Olin family and friends announce the passing of Jon Monroe Olin, on December 27th, 2019. It was unexpected and sudden, and we are only beginning to understand the depth of our loss.

Jon loved spending quality time with family, friends and students and he always opened his home and heart to others.

An open house and memorial will be held to honor Jon Olin:

Saturday, February 22, 11:30 a.m.

1022 E. Angeleno Avenue, Burbank

RSVP: 818 438 3046

Jon was born in 1943 in Los Angeles and spent his childhood earning Boy Scout badges, building soap box cars, and sailing small boats with his family. He attended Burbank schools and graduated from Burbank High School in 1961. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a teacher and see the world. He played water polo for LA Valley College and swam backstroke for the Fighting Illini at the University of Illinois. He met his wife, Dorothea, when they taught at the American School in Athens, Greece, and they went on to teach together in the Dominican Republic. They explored Europe and the Caribbean in a Volkswagen camper called Big Red. Together they visited nearly every continent and made dear friends around the world.  

Jon Olin

Jon was a dedicated public-school teacher for over forty years and a coach and mentor teacher to many. He began his career teaching Special Education in 1966 and joined Burbank Unified School District at Jordan Middle School in 1967. At Jordan he developed the BFIT physical education competition and a popular afterschool sports program. In 1991, Jon moved to Burbank High School where he taught and coached until his retirement in 2005.  Jon’s leadership, skill, and dedication were recognized throughout his career, including being appointed as one of BUSD’s first Mentor teachers, being honored with a Kiwanas’ Outstanding Leadership Award, as well honored as BUSD Teacher of the Year in 1983.  Jon coached water polo and led his swim team to a league championship, worked tirelessly to bring the gift of physical education to his students, and happily tutored adults earning their GED at the Burbank Adult School. He taught World Cultures and Sociology and was extremely proud that over one hundred languages were spoken at his school. Every September he would practice each one of his student’s names to be sure to get the right pronunciation. Students and fellow teachers grew to love his charismatic and joyous leadership, and the way he drew others in to meetings, B-FIT races, talent shows, pancake breakfasts and gatherings and protests of every kind. Jon was renown, not only for being an inspiring Jack-of-all-trades, but for his stellar practical jokes. He loved playfully teasing his students, supporting their endeavors, and he especially enjoyed bumping into former students around town and learning what they were up to.

He was an artist and a craftsman who made beautiful pieces of art and furniture and he could solve any problem from his workshop. He delighted in beating his split times in the lap pool each week. He liked to visit LACMA, support local theater and share good books. He looked forward to reading Bill Plaschke and Doyle McManus in the LA Times. He always tuned in to Vin Scully calling the Dodgers and enjoyed watching Kobe lead the Lakers to victory. He was an active member of Optimists International benefiting local youth organizations and scholarship funds.  He loved sailing up and down the west coast. He enjoyed fixing up a newly acquired 1984 yellow Volkswagen van called Maggie and taking off to explore a state park. Most of all, he loved the beautiful home and community he and Dorothea built in the Willamette Forest in Oregon. It was his favorite place on earth.

Jon was good and kind. He was selfless and always doing for others, building a handrail for an elderly neighbor, fixing a fence, cultivating tomato plants to give to friends and family. He was a constant, but quiet force of strength, generosity, and love.

We spent hundreds of evenings talking and laughing over cocktails and we’d give anything for just one more. We will try our hardest to live how he did, without regret, serving others, and taking time for what matters most.

Jon is survived by his wife of forty-three years, Dorothea, daughters Meg and Alexandra, son Christopher, their partners, and four grandchildren. If you would like to honor Jon Olin, please donate to the organization he cared deeply for, The Optimist Youth Home, 6957 N. Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90041,