OBITUARY: Judith Jeanette (JJ) Wear-Olsen

Celebration of Life for JJ Wear-Olsen on May 28

 Celebration of Life for Judith Jeanette (JJ) Wear-Olsen, 51, who died peacefully April 27, will be held on Friday, May 28, at Oceans United Church at 2 p.m. Peter Olsen, uncle of the deceased, will officiate.

Ms. Olsen was seriously injured in a pick-up accident in June of 1987 on the Monashka Bay Road. At the time, she had just completed her junior year at Kodiak High School.

“The doctor said he wouldn’t have given her five years, but she lived 34,” said her mother, Suzie Olsen. Rather than putting JJ in an institution, Suzie and her husband, David Olsen, lovingly cared for her in their Kodiak home with help from family, friends and personnel from Hope Community Resources. “Prayer, love and touch can do so much,” said Suzie, adding that her daughter went 10 years without being hospitalized.

After the accident, JJ was medevaced to Anchorage and later transferred to Seattle. Her primary doctor, Dr. Mark Withrow, was instrumental in getting JJ back to Kodiak, said her mom. While in Seattle, Suzie was told that she should get on with her life and put her daughter in an institution, but Suzie was adamant that she care for JJ.

Home “is where she needed to be. She was more than a number,” said Suzie. “How could I abandon my child? I ceased being number one.” Her focus and her husband’s focus as well, was on JJ. “We had to go down that road. You do what you need to do.”

Because of her injuries, JJ was not able to be active like her peers. She was bedridden; yet, family, friends and workers from Hope Community Resources often visited with JJ, read to her, sang to her and took her for rides. Hope employees became close friends. But JJ wasn’t always on the receiving end. She had a lot to give, said her mother. “She touched so many lives. Even through her disability, she brought light and joy to a lot of people,” said Suzie. JJ’s caretakers made sure she was surrounded by joy and laughter. “None of this doom and gloom,” said Suzie. JJ brought people together, including those who came to sit with her and family members who had been estranged.

Judith Jeannette was born Aug. 21, 1969, in San Antonio, Texas. She attended elementary and middle school in San Antonio. The family moved to Anchorage in 1984 and to Kodiak a year later. JJ wanted to be an ice skater and an exchange student at East High in Anchorage, said her mother. She did well in German language studies. “She liked to speak in different accents,” said Suzie. “She was a comedienne. Her friends said she was a good singer.”

Reflecting over the time she cared for her daughter, Suzie said, “She blessed me so much. I wouldn’t want her back in this (suffering) body, but I sure miss her.”

Preceded in death by her biological father Ronald W. Simeonoff, grandmother Alice Spracher, grandparents Nancy and Raymond Taulbert; Pete and Nina Olsen; aunts Helen Simeonoff and Julia Deater, and uncle Raymond Taulbert Jr. JJ is survived by her parents David and Suzie Olsen; grandparents Harold and Judy Wear; brothers Vincent-Olsen Simeonoff, Shawn Olsen; nephews Carter Olsen-Simeonoff, CJ Olsen, and niece Haylee Olsen. And numerous aunts, uncles and cousins in Alaska and Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Hope Community Resources, 916 Mill Bay Road.

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