Donald E. Olivier, Class of 1946

April 17, 2002
Santa Paula News
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association Biography #173 (Have you submitted yours?)The oldest child of Kenneth and Faye Brown Olivier was born in Fillmore, but has lived most of his life in Santa Paula. The other children in this family are Kenneth (’51) and Gail (’53).Don went to Isbell grade school in Santa Paula and his earliest “claim to fame” was that of playing the part of Wally in the local production of “Our Town” performed in the 1940s for the community. At SPUHS Don recalls Jack Totheroh, Ellen Bailard, Bernard Keefe, Henry Hill and Helen Hardison all being special teachers. His chums at school were Mary Kay Essert, Shirley Duncan, Joyce Eames, Don Strassburg, Larry Snyder, R. W. Beene and Mark Brown.Following graduation in 1946, Don spent two years at Ventura Junior College and then joined Uncle Sam’s Army for four years, of which he spent 18 months on Guam and 13 months in Korea. On mustering out Don went to work for the Exploration Department of Richfield Oil Co., and then spent 10 years as public relations officer for a title insurance company. In 1970 he was appointed executive director for the Santa Paula Housing Authority, and in 1980 he was a loan representative for the Santa Paula Savings & Loan Association.Don’s community service record is impressive. He is a member of the Mercer-Prieto Veterans of Foreign Wars. His service to the Masonic Lodge includes a term as Master, one of Worthy Patron, and a term as Grand Chaplain of the State of California for the Eastern Star. He is also a member of the Ventura County Scottish Rite and the York Rite and the Royal Order of Scotland and the Shriners clubs. His service in the Kiwanis Club has brought him the first George F. Hixson Fellowship award given to a Santa Paulan. This is an international award for Kiwanis Club members. His service to the Santa Paula Union High School Alumni Association, in which he holds a life membership, has put him on the Board of Directors for several years, serving as president and receiving the award of Outstanding Alumnus in 1999.
Behind every successful man is a dedicated woman, and Don is no exception to this rule. He married Velma Chamberlain Ball (’33) in 1961, and together they formed the Santa Clara Valley Bank of Santa Paula and Fillmore, of which Don serves as chairman of the Board.Don and Velma are the driving force of the Santa Paula Disciples of Christ Church, and were instrumental in planning a Miracle Day for this small historical church in 1999. A total of 185 people from various Southern California churches came to Santa Paula to refurbish their church in time for the 100th anniversary of this edifice. Don and Velma were instrumental in having the church named a county historical site. Don often pinch hits as minister at this church, and has served as deacon, elder, chairman of the Board, and on the Regional Board of the Disciples Church. He is presently serving on the Board of Directors for the Disciples Seminary Foundation as treasurer. In previous years, he has been active with the Ventura County YMCA, the United Way, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce.In their semi-retirement, Don and Velma spend leisure time at their mountain home in Mt. Pinos and in their condo in Maui. Don likes to golf, mostly in Hawaii, and he raises orchids which he enjoys giving to friends.

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