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In Memory Alumni

Becky Smith (Olsen) - Class Of 1972

Rebecca Smith Olsen, 68, whose caring spirit touched all those she encountered, passed away on June 29, 2022. She was surrounded by loving family, following a courageous cancer journey. Rebecca Lea Smith was born on March 28, 1954, in Buffalo, NY, the first child to Richard Earl Smith and Ruth Small Smith. Becky grew up in Snyder, NY alongside her brother, David. Throughout her childhood, she treasured time with her close-knit extended family in Maine, feeding a life-long love for nature and New England. Becky earned a biology degree at St. Lawrence University before continuing her education at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. While there, she met a medical student, Robert Olsen. It was a perfect fit, and they were married in Bath, ME on August 30, 1980. Becky will be remembered as a caregiver for all beings. She formalized her caregiving as a pediatric nurse at Strong Memorial Hospital for several years. She then paused her nursing career to lovingly care for her three kids in Pittsford, NY and her ailing parents and brother in Buffalo, NY, while Bob finished his medical residency. After spending early family vacations on the New Meadows River in Maine near her dear Aunt Barbara, Becky and Bob turned a bit closer to home and got a rustic place on Canandaigua Lake, where Becky had also spent time growing up. At “the lake”, she joyfully hosted many friends (and friends of her kids), took care of the many rodents and bugs in the cottage, and got to show off her waterskiing skills. As a mother, Becky thrived. She nurtured a love for books, nature, and music in her children. She was a constant supportive presence at concerts, races, and games, making friends wherever she went. She regularly volunteered at school, taught Sunday School – honoring her mother’s teaching background and her father’s faith – and served countless meals and snacks at every opportunity. When the kids got older, Becky resumed nursing at Perinton Pediatrics, where she was quick to soothe a crying baby or encourage a new parent. Nurse Becky seamlessly transitioned to Grandma Becky with the birth of her beloved grandchildren, a role she cherished. The foundation of Becky’s warmth and care was her unshakeable partnership with Bob. They did everything together, from kayaking on the lake, to walking on the canal with their Golden Retriever, to sharing hours of conversation over coffee, to traveling across the country to visit their adult children and grandkids (always with endless snacks in tow). Everywhere they went, Becky emerged with a new friend – be it a taxi driver, a grocery store worker, or the friend of a friend of a friend. Becky was predeceased by her parents and brother. She is survived by her loving husband Robert Olsen; son Keith Olsen and his wife, Joanna, of Bend, OR; daughter Courtney Walker and her husband, Reed, of Berkeley, CA; daughter Emily Beaver and her husband, Mark, of McCall, ID; her grandchildren Connor and Asher Olsen, Daphne and Sylvia Walker, and Rilo Beaver; as well as many adored nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. The family is forever grateful for the compassionate guidance and spiritual support provided by Reverend Susan Shafer throughout Becky’s cancer journey and beyond. In lieu of flowers, donations in Rebecca’s name will establish an endowed scholarship at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Please visit www.giving.rochester.edu or mail your gift to the University of Rochester Office of Gift and Donor Records, 300 East River Road, Box 270032 Rochester, NY 14627. Please reference “Rebecca Olsen/School of Nursing” in your communications. Family and friends are invited to a service in celebration of Becky’s life at 2:30 pm on July 31, 2022, at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave, Rochester.