February 8, 1955- December. 13, 2022
Bend, or – d. Reed Martin Olson died at the age of 67 on December 13, 2022, at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, from complications related to a heart attack. He died sweetly and peacefully in the arms of his devoted wife, Gabriella.
Reid was born in Denver, Colorado, on February 8, 1955, to parents Donald E. The Olson family laid its roots in Portland, Oregon, where Reid spent most of his early life. He loved sports of all kinds, particularly cycling, tennis, fishing, hiking, skiing, and mountaineering among the Cascade Mountains (no doubt aided by his skills as an eagle scout).
While traveling through Europe the summer before starting medical school, Reed met the girl of his dreams through a chance meeting in Switzerland: Gabriela Grothe, a Swiss schoolteacher who Reid felt was out of his league. But Reid’s quiet charm, patience, and warmth are in perfect harmony with Gabriella’s lively, brave, and adventurous spirit. After four years of courtship across the Atlantic, (all while Reed was diligently attending medical school at Oregon Health & Science University), Reid and Gabriella married on May 7, 1983, in a Swiss chapel.
Reed’s mother, a nurse, and father, a pulmonologist, paved the way for Reid’s distinguished career in medicine. After medical school, Reed went on to train in internal medicine, then allergy and immunology at Penn State University in Philadelphia while starting a family with Gabriella. Ashley was born in 1984, and Sven in 1987. The Olsons then made their permanent home in Middleton, Wisconsin, where Reed became an allergist and immunologist with the Dean Medical Group. Reid was an accomplished physician, methodologist, and natural leader. His 32 years of service with Dean included six years on the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, research in more than 35 clinical trials, and continued recognition as one of the “Best Doctors in America.” His professionalism and experience have impressed his patients, peers and family. Both Ashley and Sven become doctors: Ashley, a pediatric allergist and immunologist who inherited her father’s practice. and Sen, an adult hematologist.
Reed’s heart and soul belonged to his family, friends, and the great outdoors. His retirement gave him all of these things when he and Gabriella moved into the “Blue Chalet” in Bend, Oregon in 2019. In the last decade of his life, Reid struggled with progressive symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but that didn’t stop him from challenging himself and learning new things every day with his companion. Gabriela. He continued to play the piano, became a world-class chef, and doggedly honed his golf, though his physical limitations could get in the way. Reed has always embraced the latest medical advances; Several months before his death, he decided to undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) device surgery to alleviate his motor symptoms. Unfortunately, he was not able to explore the benefits of DBS before his death.
Reed and Gabriella’s love story is a true fairytale and the envy of all who knew them. Gabriela’s Swiss roots were so important to Reid, from her warm and welcoming Swiss family to the picturesque Swiss Alps, that Reid proudly became a Swiss citizen. The combined fun, resilience, and loyalty of the Olson and Groth families continued to interweave with amazing results. In Bend, each day began with a new outdoor adventure, and ended with the nightly news and quiet conversations in their elegant home. Reed did everything to ensure that his family was taken care of. He was endlessly patient, impossibly quiet, regal, genial, and generous…and yet always had the most laughs through his sharp wit and youthful whims.
Reid was taken from us too soon, but that makes the amazing legacy he built all the more extraordinary. He is the archetype of Olsson, Swede, Swiss, husband, brother, son, father, grandfather and friend.
Reid is survived by his wife of 40 years, Gabriella; his daughter Ashley (Nick and son Byron Reid) Olson; his son Sven (Dominique and son Ansel Reid) Olsson; Sister Julie, Sister Cathy (Ken) Kowalski, and Brother Mark (Tamara) Olson.
Details on Celebrating Life for Reed will be released in the next few months.
In accordance with Reid’s wishes, donations to the National Park Foundation (www.nationalparks.org) or Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (www.parkinsonsresources.org) are welcome.