John H. Olive

Birth Date: 
Tuesday, April 16, 1929
Date of Passing: 
Thursday, September 13, 2018

WOOSTER - John H. Olive, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Akron, died Thursday, September 13, 2018 after long standing heart problems.

He was born April 16, 1929 to Henry Gehale and Martha Isabel Snider Olive near Glenford, Ohio where he also attended elementary school.  He graduated from near-by Somerset High School in 1947.  John earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University ROTC program in 1953, afterwards serving in the US Air Force as an officer in the Strategic Air Command.  On June 14, 1958, he married Carolyn “Sue” Jacobs.

He taught general Sciences in Ashland and high school biology in Chagrin Falls.  John received his Master's and PHD from Kent State University. John taught Biology at Ashland University until 1970. From then until his retirement in 1994 he taught and conducted research in aquatic biology at the University of Akron. John published over 30 scientific papers on research he conducted on monitoring the water quality especially related to the Cuyahoga River, other streams and rivers in Ohio, and the Great Lakes. John's concern for the environment was evident in his activities after retirement including reforestation, volunteering at Secrest Arboretum, bird watching, and wood working. 

He was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church.  Family was important to John.  He looked forward to family get togethers and took those opportunities to pass along family history.

John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sue; daughters Kelly Williams (Keith) of Wooster and Deedee Mullenix (William) of Bloomington, IL; sons Steven Olive (Cristina) of Washington DC and Jeremy Olive of Summerville, SC; grandchildren Caitlyn Williams, Michele Festa (Carl), Jake Mullenix, LT Leah Mullenix, Coleman Mullenix, and John Kekoa Olive; brother Philip Olive (Nan) of Detroit Lakes, MN; sisters-in-law Sharon Olive of Somerset, OH and Millie Olive of Newark, OH along with many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Robert Steve Olive and Thomas Eugene Olive

Cremation has taken place and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at St. Mary's Catholic Church 527 Beall Avenue with Father Stephen Moran officiating. Family interment will follow in the Ashland Cemetery where military rites will be held.  

There will be no calling hours

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that contributions be directed to The Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy for CVNP, 1403 W. Hines Hill Rd., Peninsula, OH 44264 or to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster, OH 44691.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Memorial Contributions: 

In lieu of flowers the family requests that contributions be directed to The Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy for CVNP, 1403 W. Hines Hill Rd., Peninsula, OH 44264 or to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster, OH 44691.


A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM at St. Mary Catholic Church 


Please accept my sympathy for the loss of Mr. Olive, your father.
I always enjoyed your stories of him regarding his profession.
I know his family will miss him with a smile.

My deepest sympathies to the entire family for the loss of John. I am incredibly sorry to hear the news of his passing. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with John when I was growing up. I will always cherish the memories of going out to the property to work as a kid, visiting during family gatherings around the bonfire, and the conversations we would have. John was integral in the completion of my Eagle Scout project, helping me to identify the trees at the Edgewood Arboretum. He instilled in me a passion for the natural world and conservation that I will forever be grateful for. He will be deeply missed.

My heart breaks for you. Please accept our sincere condolences. It is never easy. I’m here for you

Our deepest condolences to all of you. John was a big part of our life here in wooster. We had many fun evenings with the Williams and the Ferringers at the Olive homestead. John was always interested in our kids and our lives and we loved spending time with both he and Sue. Those were very special times for us. God bless you, John. You will be missed.

Steve, and family my sincere condolences to all to have so many years with your dad is truly remarkable to share his love for family, teaching, giving and the environment shows greatly and will continue to shine thru you.

So very very sorry! Sending my sympathy, my understanding, my thoughts and prayers! Such wonderful memories of long ago, and my deep regrets that we failed to keep up our contacts thru the years - but the caring of true friendship has always remained and extends to each member of your family. Our two good men who shared mutual respect and many interests are now at peace in the Lord. Hope to be there Tuesday.

It is with such sadness that I received Barbara's message letting our team know your dad passed away. I read that he was a biologist, and as such, he must have been a committed professor and an environmentally-sensible person. I am so very sorry, Steve, for your loss.

John was an inspiration for the entire Hoch family, sharing his knowledge and love of the natural environment. Part of his legacy is a shared passion for the environment that he instilled in hundreds of students. Our world is a better place because of a John Olive. Sue, we hope to see you at Loren's 90th.

So sorry to hear. He was such a great man. I remember all the camping trips we all went on. I was one of the family growing up and enjoyed those days. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. My heart is heavy for your loss. Love you all.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of John. He was a great soul and a loving father, grandfather & friend. Our family will always remember his legacy. Our thoughts and prayers to Sue and the entire Olive Family. We love you.

My sincerest condolences and may God bring peace to his Soul and provide comfort to you and all the family. My prayers today will be with you.

Dear Sue and Family,
We fondly remember the birding h;.6o9yyears with you and John as neighbors on Meadowlane in North Canton. May God's love and peace comfort each of you in the days ahead.

Dear Sue and family,
My sincerest condolences to you all. I was so saddened by the news of John's passing. "Doc" Olive was my favorite professor and advisor in graduate school at the University of Akron. His limnology and aquatic ecology classes led to my work at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. I have him to thank for my career. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Dear Steve,

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Sue, so sorry on John’s passing. He was a talented man who Dan
loved to be with. We send outr sincere sympathy to you and your family.
He truly will be missed. Please take care of yourself.

Dear Steve, Christina, Mrs. Olive, and the family: My deepest sympathies on the loss of a great man, father, uncle, brother, grandfather, friend, cousin and professor/teacher. May his dear soul rest in peace, and may all the good memories keep you strong during this time. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Warm regards, Ashleigh Appel Virginia, USA

So sorry to hear about John. I think of the great times we had together. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Jean Quinn and Family

Dear Steve and family:
I was so sad to hear of your Dad's passing. He certainly left a broad and deep legacy of both scholarship and activism. I am sure he was an inspiration to many. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this sorrowful time. Hugs, Alexi

My deepest sympathies to Dr. Olive's family. He was an inspiring kind and generous teacher in the classroom, lab and in the field.

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