Wallace Joseph Olds

2014-05-14T00:00:00Z Wallace Joseph Olds The Billings Gazette
May 14, 2014 12:00 am

RED LODGE — Wally Olds, 82, of Red Lodge, died of heart failure on Monday, May 12, 2014. Fortunately he had the time and wit to write his own obituary. Here it is:

I was born April 2, 1932, the son of Gary and Florus Olds, in Winfield, Kansas, where I grew up. I graduated from the Univ. of Missouri with a Bachelors of Journalism in 1954, spent two years in the Army as a public information officer for the 2nd Armored Division in Germany, then worked for the Associated Press for two years covering legislatures in Missouri and Kansas.

I bought my first weekly newspaper in Sharon Springs, Kansas, pop. 900, and later owned weeklies in Monticello, Utah and Carrizozo, N.M. In 1963 I was editor of the Taos, N.M. News and met and married the belle of the town, Lucille Ortiz, who was teaching Spanish to Peace Corpsmen for the Univ. of N.M. After a feverish courtship and wedding on March 14, 1964, we moved to Chicago for a year where I was editor of American Press magazine.

Yearning to get back west, we bought the Carbon County News in 1965, and made Red Lodge, Montana, our home – permanently.

After 10 years of running the News, I sold it and built, with pardners, cable TV systems in Red Lodge, Columbus, Forsyth, Baker, Plentywood, Wolf Point and Ronan, Mt., Lovell, Wyo., and Taos, N.M.

In addition to my wife of 50 years, I leave behind our two children, son Whit (wife Monica, grandsons Benjamin and David) of Missoula, and daughter Cristina, of Albuquerque N.Mex., who gave me much joy in return for morality lectures. I am also survived by my younger brother, Joe, of Colorado. My twin brother, George, died in 2008.

I tried to do my civic duty: served on the county planning board for 16 years, elected to Red Lodge city government study commission in 1974, and to the Carbon County study commission in 1994. Served on the city parks commission, and was a director of the Montana Press Assn. and secretary of the Montana Assn. of Planning Officials. I was a Phi Delt in school, then belonged to Rotary for 25 years, Inquiry Club, Elks, C of C and so forth.

Although area newspapers charge by the inch (for what ought to be a public service) for this flattering account of my life, I am tempted to carry on at length and say that "He was an expert fly fisherman and bridge player." Modesty forces me to admit I have earned little distinction in either area. But it was fun trying.

I conclude that the greatest joys in life are family and friends, not an original observation, but surely true in my case.

In accordance with my wishes, cremation has taken place. Memorials may be made to the Red Lodge Library, Box 1068, Red Lodge MT 59068.

No services are planned. A memorial gathering of friends will be held at a later date.

Smith-Olcott Funeral Chapel assisted with arrangements.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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