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JOHN ALBERT OLIVER
April 19, 1920 ~ February 17, 2014
"John had three lifelong passions:
His faith; his family; and writing."
John Albert Oliver, age 93, passed away February 17, 2014, following a period of declining health while visiting family in Corvallis, OR with his wife of 31 years, Patricia. He was born in Seattle, WA on April 19, 1920 to Frank Howard Oliver and May Germaine Oliver, an only child. He graduated from Ballard High School then attended both the University of Washington and the University of Cincinnati.
John served in the Army Signal Corp and after his discharge at the end of World War II, he followed in his father's footsteps and worked a passenger ticket agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Seattle. He was transferred to the Bay Area for the trucking division.
Following a divorce, John decided to pursue his love of writing and began a career as a journalist. He loved being on the trail of a "hot lead"!
John was very proud of his association with the two newspapers for which he worked for a combined total of over 40 years: The Tri-Valley Herald in Dublin and Livermore, CA and the Independence, OR branch of the Polk County Itemizer-Observer. His specialties were writing feature stories and weekly columns. He was the Editor of the Herald & News in 1971. For many years he penned the "Oliver Twist" column of personal interest stories of people and events in the Tri-Valley. Friends often called him the compassionate journalist for his kindness and consideration. He considered it important to avoid sensationalism and to always honor confidentiality.
John also had two books published and finished a third. The first was an authorized biography of Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther, titled "Eldridge Cleaver Reborn". The second was a biography of Arthur Blessitt, missionary, titled "A Walk with the Cross". He and his wife Patricia also completed a biography of Russian Orthodox Priest Roman Sturmer, who fled Russia during the Russian Revolution of 1917, traveled the world, and took up his ministry in San Francisco.
In1982, John married Patricia Wilson and the couple moved to Monmouth, OR from Livermore when John retired in 1985. John and Patricia spent a year during 1987-88 as volunteers with Northwest Medical Teams in Mexico City. While helping the very poor on the outskirts of Mexico City, they also helped teach English to Hispanic business people. Upon returning to Monmouth, John came out of retirement and resumed his journalism career at the Itemizer-Observer. During this time, their home was often filled with international students, something they both enjoyed. Final retirement from the newspapers came for John in 1996 though he never stopped writing.
Then, in 2006, the Olivers moved to Vancouver, WA to be near family. When not reading or writing, John was an avid follower of The Seattle Mariners and more lately, The Portland Blazers.
John felt he had been blessed with a wonderful family.
He is survived by wife, Patty and children: son, Matthew Oliver of Livermore, CA, daughters, Abby Tice of Brentwood, CA and Jeannie Flint of Dublin, CA; step-son, Brian McNeil of Fairbanks, AK; step-daughters, Karen Sass of Vancouver, WA and Linda Windom of Corvallis, OR; twelve grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.
There will be a celebration of John's life for family and friends on Saturday, March 8th at 2:00 p.m. at City Bible Church, 14311 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA, where he was a member.
Interment will be a military service at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, OR at a later date.
Please sign his guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits.
Published in The Columbian on Mar. 2, 2014