In Loving Memory of

Don (DJ) Ivan Olds, Jr.


After a two-year courageous fight, Don (DJ) Ivan Olds, Jr. has lost his battle to glioblastoma brain cancer March 2, 2023.  He never lost his optimism, faced this challenge with grace, and never exuded fear.  He embodied the motto of the United States Air Force, of which he served most of his life:  Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in all he did.

He worked for more than 38 years for the United States Air Force, 25 of which were Active Duty, serving as a rated Navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer aboard Reconnaissance aircraft, retiring at the rank of Colonel in 2010.  His breadth of service to the federal government yielded many awards and accolades from his beginning military schooling as a top graduate, through his many assignments, to his roles within the Political-Military realm, stateside and abroad.

Don was born December 30,1961 in Oswego, New York to Don and Sherry (Van Ness) Olds and was raised in Pulaski, New York.  He is survived by his wife, Tami (McCray); daughters Tera and Emily; his father and step-mother, Fred and Karen (Davis) Stauffer; an aunt, Linda (Van Ness) Purdy; an uncle, Clark Newton; a father-in-law and mother-in-law, William and Phyllis (Lester) Blackwell; a step-mother-in-law, Peggy (Causey) McCray; three brothers, Glenn Olds, Kevin Olds (Jill), and Timothy Osborn; seven sisters, Elaine Sartin, Sylvia Krupke (Daniel), Jacquelin Brennan, Rene Machado, Colleen Fritsch (John), Laurie Hoagland (Gary), and Kathryn Battaglino-Nehrig (Noel); two brothers-in-law, Ashley McCray (Ileana) and Michael McCray (Gena); many nieces and nephews, grand-nephews and grand-nieces, cousins and friends.

Don was easy to love because he was genuine and sincere and held a passionate joy for life, whether fervently supporting the Syracuse Orange, Florida Gators, or Tampa Bay Lightning; or simply enjoying a good beer while at the grill.  His love for family and friendship was immense, and his unwavering dedication admirable. Always optimistic and smiling, his attitude was infectious, lifting the spirits of anyone he met.  He was a loyal friend, an empathic ear, and the best hugger!  His life exemplified the very best of humanity, and he was a blessing and inspiration to all who knew him. His loss will be immensely felt.

Calling hours will be held Friday, March 17, 2023, from 5:00-8:00 pm, at Forest Meadows Funeral Home, 725 NW 23rd Avenue, Gainesville, Florida.  Services will be held at the same location, Saturday, March 18, 2023, at 11:00 a.m., followed by the interment ceremony at Forest Meadows Memorial Park, 4100 NW 39th Ave, Gainesville.

Flowers may be sent to the funeral home or donations made in his honor to the Glioblastoma Research Foundation at or to another charity of your choice.




Online Condolences

14 Responses

  1. Ed Sasdelli at · Reply

    Don and I were on the same RC-135S crew at Shemya AFB 1986 to 1991. We spent many long tours together at Shemya AK and Hickham AFB, HI. Don was a great guy and a model Air Force Officer and gentlemen. I was very sorry to hear about his passing. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

  2. Bill & Theresa Zehner at · Reply

    Tami, Tera, Emily & family; Words fail me right now but please know that Theresa and I send our deepest condolences to you all during this terrible time. I had the sincere pleasure of flying with Don in Alaska many years ago. I held him in the highest regard. Don was without a doubt one of the most honorable men I’ve ever known and I’m proud to have had him as a Brother in Arms. God bless you all.

    Lt Col (Ret) & Mrs. Bill Zehner

    1. Sandy S. Ficara at · Reply

      Tami, Tera, Emily,
      I am so sorry for your loss of a great husband and wonderful Father. He put up a fight against this horrible disease, but is now home with God and no longer in pain. Prayers of love, comfort,
      peace and lots of (((HUGZ))). I know how much he truly loved you Tami and Tera and Emily and Phyllis, Bill, Ashley and Ileana and all his family, friends and Brother’s and Sister’s in the Service, deployed, here or now with him in Heaven. Thank you Don for your service to protect our Freedom and for trying to hang on during your difficult battle. Now, may you R.I.P. until we all meet again and thank you for watching over my Cousins, his beautiful wife, daughter’s, Phyllis, Bill, Ashley and Ileana.
      Cousin Sandy S. Ficara

  3. Beth Flanagan at · Reply

    Don was one of the best. He was always genuine and was not afraid to show his love for his family and friends. Every time I saw him he was always smiling. I feel blessed to of known him and my love and prayers for his family.

  4. Linda Blechinger, Derek & David Blechinger at · Reply

    Don was my husband, Daniel Blechinger school boy friend and life long brother. Dan loved Don with his whole heart! Our middle son was named after him and we called him DJ his whole life just as Don was called at home in Pulaski, NY
    Dan was so proud of Don, he bragged about him every chance he had. Our sons admired Don and Before Dan passed away almost 3 years ago, he would speak of their time together with such a love a fondness it filled our hearts. Now once again these two men who were friends from the start are back together again. While I grieve immensely for his untimely death and especially for the precious women in Dons life, who were his everything, there is some measure of comfort knowing they are together.
    Love you Tami, love you Tera and Emily. Your father adored yours !

  5. Jim Pfaff at · Reply

    Don was a patriot in the finest tradition. It was an honor to fly with him. We will miss him and mourn him, but more than that, we will be thankful that we knew him. His love for family and country was unparalleled. He was an American Airman. To his family, deepest sympathy and hope that you will cherish so many good memories. God bless you always.

  6. Tim Cutler at · Reply

    Flew with Don at Shemya & Eielson AFB from 1988 to 1991. He was a consummate professional and a great team member as eveyone from front to back of the Cobra Ball played an important part on every mission whether success or tuna. I also enjoyed his company during our beer lights when we relaxed after a mission in Hangar 7, and hanging out all over Shemya. I will miss him greatly and treasure our memories.

  7. Michael Carello at · Reply

    My wife Debbie and myself felt very honored to have met Don. Myself being in the Marine Corps as a Corporal and knowing Don a Colonel was quite an experience for me. I will always treasure the USMC Momento that Don gave to me and the great times we spent together. May he rest in peace and God Bless his family.

  8. Dave Segalla at · Reply

    Served with Don at US Africa Command. A loyal friend, excellent teacher and mentor, and the comsummate professional. Rest in Peace Don, and god bless to your family.

  9. Jason Bouchard at · Reply

    My condolences to DJ’;s family and friends, I haven’t seen him in years not since the cookout at his parents home back in the 90’s , I was friends with Don and Sherry but knew this remarkable man and was impressed with his sheer determination and intelligence, Rest in peace you left this world far too soon,

  10. Steve Miller at · Reply

    Like several others, I had the honor of flying with and serving with Don up in Alaska on the RC-135S from 1988-1991. I was a brand new Lieutenant in the squadron and I couldn’t have asked for a better first real assignment due to people like Don. Don was a great leader, always a professional, and treated everyone with respect. In short, he was a great officer and mentor. Like the obituary says, he always had a positive attitude and an infectious laugh that got the mission done with a smile on your face no matter what hardships we were facing. The overall camaraderie, family, and friendship we had for this unique mission in Alaska can never be matched! Thank you Don! You will be missed. My sincere condolences to Tami and the rest of the family.

  11. David Trask at · Reply

    Don was one of the finest Air Force officers I have ever known. His dedication, work ethic and commitment to serve his country was extraordinary as was his absolute commitment to his family. I remember how strong the squadron was because Don’s excellence raised the bar on every task and mission, and Tami was right there by his side serving as well. They were every commander’s dream. Smart, optimistic, cheerful, willing to commit and follow through. It was a gut punch to hear of his death. Rest in peace, Don.

    1. Tami Olds at · Reply

      Thank you Dave. We will always remember you and Bobbie as our best AF experience. You both set the bar and the example.

  12. Tami Olds at · Reply

    Our daughter’s boyfriend made this video of the service.

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