OBITUARY: Dave Olsen

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David Coe “Dave” Olsen, age 65 of Smyrna, TN passed away on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. He was born in Hackensack, NJ to the late Frank and Barbara Schwarz Olsen.

Mr. Olsen is survived by his wife, Rebecca Bragg Olsen; children, Scott Olsen (Joelle), Steven Olsen (Jessica), and Sarah Olsen (Michael Wolfe); grandchildren, Athena Olsen, Zander Olsen, Preston Olsen, Tyler Campos, Christian Campos; siblings, Sharon Carlson (Dan LaPadula) and Mark Olsen (Frankie Wadley); niece, Jessica Carlson (Julissa Lane) of Miami, FL; and nephew, Ray Clark (Joyce) of Rolling Prairie, IN.

Mr. Olsen graduated in 1972 from Nova High School in Davie, FL. He then attended North Texas State University from 1972-1973 and Miami-Dade Community College from 1973-1974, where he met his wife of 45 years, Becky. He then enrolled in the Music Merchandising Program at the University of Miami in 1974.

Mr. Olsen worked for Wurlitzer Piano Company in the Educational Products Division from 1974-1981, Columbia Pictures Publications (which later became CPP/Belwin Music Publishing) in 1981, was VP of Business Affairs at Warner Brothers Music Publishing, Alfred Music from 2005-2007, FJH Music from 2007-2011, and Online Sheet Music, Inc. from 2011-2019.

In the 1990’s and beyond, Mr. Olsen sang bass with the Sherwood Singers for Renaissance Festivals and other engagements around South Florida, and with his wife, Becky, was a dynamic musical force in The United Methodist Church in Florida, both in local churches and at the District and Conference levels. He played piano in local bands and piano bars in both Miami, FL, and DeKalb, IL. Dave was also a lifetime member of DeKalb, IL Lodge #144 A.F. & A.M.

“Dave’s passion for music began when he was eight years old and his mother, who also played, gave Dave lessons. He later played French horn for the school band and piano for the high school jazz band, which included Duffy Jackson on drums. After college he learned about Alfred Reed’s music merchandising program, which Dave enjoyed very much. Alfred suggested Dave for a job opening at the Wurlitzer Company, which Dave took. Thus Dave’s long career in the music industry began, combining his passion for music and his passion for business together.” -from NAMM

This sign hung above his office door at Warner Brothers:

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” – Hunter S. Thompson