DENVER, CO — Raymond Edward Oleski, 91, was laid to rest with military honors at Ft. Logan National Cemetery on June 8, 2015. He died December 8, 2014 in Oceanside, California from metastatic lung cancer.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Irene (Puncsak) Oleski, his son, Walter Thomas Oleski, his daughters, Jane Oleski Smith and Nancy Ann Oleski; and four grandchildren, Katelyn Irene Smith, Ryan Walter Oleski, Elizabeth Jane Smith and Colton Thomas Oleski.
Born and raised in Yonkers, New York, the son of Walter S. Olszewski and Constance Kosmider Olszewski, he served as a staff sergeant with the 66th Air Service Squadron in New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa.
He lived near Nodine Hill where he attended Gorton High School in Yonkers, and he worked for the Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Company prior to his enlistment. In a letter he sent to his boss at the company, Frank G. See, he coined these remarks (Feb. 1, 1945, Yonkers newspaper – “Visiting the Philippines”):
“News of a fuel shortage back home has me wondering if it is affecting the production at the plant. Since entering the Service I have come to realize how important and essential products produced at Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Company are to this war effort. I, for one, work in the Air Corps supply and we handle countless types of canvas without which planes would be grounded and valuable instruments would be useless.”
He earned a B.S. from the University of Denver in 1949, and a Masters degree from the University of Colorado in 1969 (J. Fagg Foster was his mentor). He worked for the City and County of Denver and upon completion of his graduate degree he joined the Red Rocks Community College faculty where he eventually retired.
Ray was a strong proponent of open space, especially in the Rocky Mountains. Among his many favorites were Tropicana roses, the Denver Public Library, Chopin’s mazurkas, the musical South Pacific, peppermint ice cream, Rosemary Clooney’s voice, the writings of John Kenneth Galbraith, the Biss Dairy Farm and the California central coast. As a lifelong student of golf he penned this in his final weeks: “Golf: Keep your head down and let your shoulders bring up your head. Others will watch the ball!”
He is preceded in death by his older siblings, Walter Oleski, Edward Oleski, Genevieve Goles, Constance Perkins and Wanda Santago.