Richard James Olson

Richard James Olson

July 24, 1955-March 17, 2017

On March 17, 2017, Richard “Reverend” James Olson, 61, died peacefully in his home after a year long fight with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his daughter, SunRose Winslow and husband Austin Winslow of Homer; son, Homer Olson of Homer; daughter, Eden Olson of Arkansas; mother, Roseanne Sherratt and husband Warren Sherratt of Colorado; older brother, Jeff Olson of Colorado, and younger brother, Matt Sherratt of Colorado.

He was preceded in death by his sons, Billy Olson of Hawaii and Ambrose Olson of New York; father, Larry Olson of Nevada, and younger brother, Timothy Sherratt of California.

Richard was born July 24, 1955 in Minneapolis, Minn., and moved with his family to Davis, Calif., where he achieved as far as a high school education.

He is known for his adventurous spirit which led him to leave home at 17 to hitch-hike and train hop around the United States. Eventually a motorcycle brought him up to Alaska to work on the Alaska Pipeline and fall in love with the state. He lived in many places in Alaska before settling in Homer in 1980, working at the cannery and building his dream home in the “most beautiful place on Earth.”

Many know Richard as a musician, singer-songwriter, carpenter, hobo, entrepreneur, farmer, conservationist, political activist and spiritual guide. Going under the guise of “Reverend Poor Child” was more than a stage name; it was based on a philosophy of having riches that the poor can appreciate: God, family, art and working with his hands. He lived his life by this philosophy, unapologetically, and created his own freedom right up until the end.

“And it is with this belief and this knowledge that I say / You are not enclosed within these bodies, nor confined to houses or fields. / That which is you dwells above the mountain and roves with the wind. / It is not a thing that crawls into the sun for warmth or digs holes into darkness for safety, / But a thing free, / a spirit that envelops the earth and moves in the ether.” -Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”