Thomas Norman Olsen, accomplished educator

March 8, 2018

Thomas Norman Olsen, 87, of Lewes, passed away Friday, March 2, 2018, at The Moorings at Lewes. He was born Friday, Nov. 28, 1930, in Passaic, N.J., son of the late Harry N. and Emma Olsen.

Mr. Olsen majored in audiology at Columbia University. His youngest student from Ridgewood, N.J., deaf in both ears, he tutored once weekly from age 3 until she successfully entered college. As a teacher, then principal, in the elementary school in Westwood, N.J., he completed over 40 years; first at Berkeley, then as the first principal at the new Brookside School. At Brookside, Mr. Olsen established the library. Upon his retirement, it was named the Thomas N. Olsen Library.

On Aug. 29, 1959, he married Ruth Kuehn, the love of his life, They lived in Allendale, N.J. for 50 years, where they raised their four children. During this time he was chairman of the Lee Memorial Library board, which included the move from Allendale Avenue to its current location. Mr. Olsen co-authored a book for the hearing-impaired while teaching evening classes at community college in Union, N.J., and also served as a charter member of the Bergen County Special Services School District.

As a faithful Christian, Mr. Olsen taught Sunday school, was Sunday school superintendent, a church elder, and congregational president. He also served several terms on the Board of Regents at Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y. At the time of his passing, Mr. Olsen was a part of the Presidents Circle at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., and on the board of Concordia Theological Foundation, Fort Wayne.

Mr. Olsen was a collector of owls, an avid reader, bridge player and world traveler. Above all, he was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

A Memorial Service will be held Friday, March 16, at 11 a.m., at Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 20276 Bay Vista Road, Rehoboth Beach, where friends may visit beginning at 10 a.m. Interment will be private.

Arrangements are being handled by Parsell Funeral Homes and Crematorium, Lewes.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in Mr. Olsen's memory to Concordia Theological Foundation, P.O. Box 15810, Ft. Wayne, IN 46885-5810.

Please visit Mr. Olsen's Life Memorial Webpage and sign his online guestbook at