Obituary, Richard Ellison Olsen

 

Richard Ellison Olsen, 76, retired philosophy professor, died Friday at his home in Millerton, NY. The cause of death was heart failure.

Born and raised on Staten Island, Richard taught philosophy and was chair of the philosophy department at Adelphi University. He received a B.S. in mathematics from Union College in 1962, and a Ph.D from Brown University in 1971. He began teaching at Adelphi in 1971.

His philosophical interests covered a wide area with publications and addresses in the philosophy of science and the social sciences, the philosophy of logic and mathematics, and Indian metaphysics.
He was the author of several journal articles and a book “Karl Marx” and participated in both National Endowment for the Humanities and Mellon Grant Foundation projects. Richard was a scholar of both Western and Asian philosophy for over 20 years, and lived for a time as an ordained Theravadin Buddhist monk in Thailand while studying Buddhist philosophy and vipassana (mindfulness) meditation. Since that time, Richard taught meditation both at Adelphi and in the community.

Richard was a wonderful friend to many and remained a devoted stepfather to his two stepdaughters, whom he helped raise.

His intelligence, compassionate wisdom, and loyalty were some of the many attributes that made him a very special person. He will be greatly missed.

Surviving are his older brother Harold B. Jr. and his sister in law Janet Olsen, both of whom he loved dearly, his nieces and nephew, and his two step daughters.

Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.