Washburn

In Memory of Nancy Olsen

Nancy Anne Olsen April 19, 1950 - January 15, 2015 Nancy Anne Olsen
April 19, 1950 - January 15, 2015

I had only been working as an editorial assistant at Island Press for six months when Nancy Olsen was hired as a senior editor in 1992, but I knew enough to know that she was going to shake things up. And shake she did. Nancy quickly embraced the mission and the people of Island Press while inspiring us to think about the books we published in new ways. Together we researched the field of land-use planning and the information needs, because she saw potential to expand our land conservation list. That booklist, now known as the built environment program, has grown and thrived thanks to the foundation Nancy built during her years at Island Press as senior editor and editor in chief. Nancy was not only smart and visionary, but she seemed to have boundless energy and enthusiasm. She believed in the people around her in a way that made them believe in themselves. She inspired authors to write books (some even on time) that I was convinced would never happen. Nancy seemed invincible. Indomitable. Which is why it came as a surprise to learn of her passing on January 15, 2015. She would want us to remember her life, which she lived to the fullest, surrounded by her kids, then grandkids, her dogs, and the many, many friends and acquaintances whose lives she touched. Nancy was a mentor and a friend. She taught me much of what I know about being an editor and many things about being a friend. Possibly most important, she taught me that sometimes what a situation needs most is a puppy. We miss you Nancy. Nancy Anne Olsen