Dolores Olbu

January 28, 1931-October 16, 2022

Dolores “Dee” (Barbour) Olbu lived a life beyond her wildest dreams as a child of the Great Depression. She got a fake ID as a girl — not to get into bars, but to get a job. She spent her teenage years working as a soda jerk at Bartell’s Drug Store and giving pony rides at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Dee enjoyed baton twirling and dancing as a girl. She performed in parades and in nursing homes, often for soldiers returning home. She went on to teach baton, Hawaiian Dancing and Tap Dancing to adults and children for many years. In 1964, she led a group of 20 young baton twirlers to compete in the New York World’s Fair. The girls and chaperones all enjoyed that memorable trip and Dee discovered the excitement of organizing such adventures.

Dee was “Greenwood Queen of Lights” the year the Greenwood District was getting electric street lights. Queen Dolores had the honor of throwing the switch to illuminate the streets for the very first time.

As Queen of Lights, she also represented the Greenwood District as a Seafair Princess. The US Navy sent a contingent of officers from Sand Point Naval Air Station to escort the Seafair Royalty to an evening gala. Dee quickly fell for her escort, a tall, handsome Naval Aviator from Spokane. She returned home late that night and woke her mother to declare, “I had so much fun and I’ve met the man I’m going to marry,” to which her mother replied, “Have you been drinking? Go to bed.” Dee was, in fact, clearheaded. She married that Naval Aviator, Leo R. Olbu, just three months later. They celebrated 63 years together before he passed in 2014.

Always energetic and enthusiastic, Dee loved being a housewife and mother to Leilani and Leo Jr. She also enjoyed a variety of jobs over the years. She worked in the personnel department at the Boeing Company and her key take away from that was, “If you want a job, keep coming back. Persistence pays off.” Her hobby of looking at houses became a career when Dee became a realtor after the children were raised. Though she enjoyed real estate and was top seller the year she worked, she soon gave it up for her new passion, skiing. She learned to ski as an adult while chaperoning the kids’ ski busses. When the kids moved on, she found her own group of ski friends and organized the Krazy Ladies Ski Bus for over 35 years, taking a raucous group of skiers up to Crystal Mountain and leading the way through mogul fields. She skied all over the US and Europe, taking groups of fun friends and family with her.

“Fun” was the best way to sum up Dee. She relished the fun of seeing the world, the fun of meeting new people, the fun of playing a game of Scrabble with Leo. Dee worked hard to create fun for others — especially her family. There was no road trip too long or Lego set too huge for her kids and grandkids. Dee’s sense of fun also had a mischievous streak: she grew a marijuana plant, gave cases of her homemade wine as graduation gifts, and slipped “Playboy” magazines into Christmas stockings.

Dee spent her final years at Sherwood Assisted Living in Sequim. Leilani felt very fortunate to have her mom living just 7 minutes away. The nurses, caregivers and staff were loving and caring. They all made the best of things during Covid and were extra family. Grammy had visitors every day and we could see that she was happy and cared for. Always the optimist, her standard reply to a visitor’s greeting was, “I think I’m getting better!”

Dee was preceded in death by “Big Leo” and “Little Leo.” She is survived by her sister Donna Myhre, her daughter Leilani Sundt (husband Mark), her grandsons Christopher Olbu, Kiehl Sundt, and Justin Olbu (wife Aimee), and her great-grandchildren River and Orion Olbu.

To give Dee the last word, “Give hugs and kisses, be happy, have a ball. When your number’s up, you can’t say, ‘Wait, I have not yet done it all.’”

A Celebration of Life will be held at Crystal Mountain on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. Please RSVP for more details at: