Rex Mack Olsen

January 27, 1953 - July 26, 2017

Rex Mack Olsen

January 27, 1953 - July 26, 2017


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Obituary for Rex Mack Olsen

Rex Mack Olsen died Wednesday, July 26, 2017 in Warrenton, VA.

He was born January 27, 1953 to the late Harold and Lillie Olsen in Safford, AZ. Rex is survived by his wife of 39 years, Julia Olsen of Reva, VA; his son Hans Bruesch-Olsen of Washington, DC; his son Colin Bruesch-Olsen and Colin’s wife Mariel Epstein Olsen of Asheville, NC. Rex is also survived by his brother Bobby (Sheila) Olsen of Safford, AZ; and his sister Betty (Philip) Cluff of Pima, AZ. Rex’s siblings Lorene and Joe preceded him in death. Rex is also survived by many beloved relatives, friends and co-workers across the country. Rex and Julia met on the campus of Arizona State University and married in 1977. During their married life, they lived in Flagstaff, Tempe and Safford, AZ; Santa Cruz, CA; Manassas, VA; and finally, 20 years in Reva, VA.

Rex grew up in Safford in the shadow of Mt. Graham, one of his favorite places. He had many good memories of Safford with his friends and family. It was his good fortune to reconnect with a few of his childhood friends via Facebook after many years away from Safford. A few years ago, a group of Safford friends gathered to hike Aravaipa Canyon, resulting in renewed connections with Tony, Steve, Janet, Lisa, Karin and Janie, to mention just a few. The Aravaipa trip and others that followed gave Rex great pleasure.
Hans and Colin were two of the great joys of Rex’s life. He began an annual tradition of taking his sons camping when Hans was just four years old and Colin was added to the trip as soon as he was old enough. They camped all over the US and into Canada and made many wonderful memories during their adventures.
At the time of his death, Rex had worked as a retail manager for CVS Pharmacy for 25 years. Through his time with CVS, he made many friends and was a favorite of many of his co-workers. During moves from one location to another, several of his employees would request to make the transfer with him. Rex had an admired work ethic and always strove to do his best, no matter the obstacles.

Rex had a few favorite passions in life. He loved being outdoors and appreciating the natural environment. He inherited his mother’s legendary green thumb and especially enjoyed gardening. The home in Reva enabled Rex to indulge his gardening habit full tilt and to set up a bluebird trail with home crafted bird houses. He appreciated good books, classic rock music, the Blues Brothers, chili verde, running half marathons, Mexican beer, arguing with Republicans and religious folks, a well mowed lawn, chilled red wine (yes, chilled), baseball, Kelly’s Heroes, the Andy Griffith Show (yes, really), mid-shelf whiskey, O Brother Where Art Thou, and embarrassing his kids in public settings.

A few Rex quotes:
 I love talking politics. Don't ask me to get over that. Plus, tomatoes. I love talking about tomatoes. Definitely, don't ask me to get over talking tomatoes!
 Reminds me of my dad and his brother, my Uncle Harry. I remember loud, heated arguments when Goldwater and Johnson were facing off. Yet they loved each other, helped each other out, spent leisure time with each other. Think that's how I learned you can and should be friends with those you may strongly disagree with on different issues.
 I thoroughly enjoy making my own decisions.
 Heaven is right here, right now. Make the best of it and enjoy it every day.
 Be a good person, follow your conscience, and don't let a bunch of old men tell you how to run your life.

Above all, Rex loved his family and his friends. He was a good man and we miss him more than we can express. We feel the best way to honor Rex’s memory is enjoy and cherish our natural surroundings.

The family will be holding memorial gatherings in Reva and Safford.

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