Brian Michael Olmstead
Brian Michael Olmstead, 78, entered into rest on May 10, 2018. A Man for All Seasons, Brian devoted his life to helping the disadvantaged when no one else would. A lifelong legal services attorney, Brian never stopped fighting for justice on behalf of the poor, the despised, and the lost.
Brian graduated from Cornell Law School in 1964, 4th in his class. While there, rather than accept an invitation to join the Cornell Law Review, Brian opted to work in the legal aid clinic. Following graduation, Brian accepted a position with the U.S Civil Rights Commission, which included traveling to Mississippi as part of Robert Kennedy’s voting rights initiative. In 1965, Brian began working in Washington, DC for Neighborhood Legal Services, until 1967, when he went to Des Moines, Iowa, and joined Iowa’s Neighborhood Legal Services Office.
Brian moved to Nahant, Massachusetts in 1968, where he lived out the rest of his life. Brian became a senior mentor, teacher, and friend to the attorneys who worked for the Boston Legal Assistance Project and Greater Boston Legal Services, where he devoted his practice to representing poor tenants. Brian subsequently founded and administered the first legal services clinical program at New England School of Law, Boston, MA.
Even after he became ill in January 2018, Brian’s passion for justice and his humanity, compassion and empathy for all living creatures never waned. Brian enjoyed feeding the wild birds, as well as providing for even the lowliest of raccoons, opossum, and skunks. Brian believed with all his heart that All God’s Creature Have a Place in the Choir. Brian left us peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones. Brian is survived by his partner and spouse of 40 years, Carol Wasserman; his son, Conor Olmstead, his son-in law, Adam Sell; his sisters, Thea and Lenore Olmstead; his brother, Terence Olmstead; his nephews and nieces, Liam Galbreth, Colleen Tilford, and Caitlin Fleck; his great-nephews and nieces, Joshua Fleck, Kieran and Julian Tilford, Mateo, Tomas, Maya, and Dylan Galbreth; his dogs, Skye and Peggy-O, and his cats, Jude, Blue, and Moonshadow.
Brian was always complex and sometimes confrontational. Brian was also always loving, empathetic, and fiercely devoted to his family and his friends. He took pride in having trod the “awkward way” faithfully, ethically, and with great love for all who were privileged to know him, all the days of his life.
Brian’s family will host a private memorial service in the grand tradition of an Irish wake on June 24, 2018 at The Black Rose, 160 State Street, Boston, MA 02109. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Brian’s name to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, http://aldf.org/.
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