Monday, March 16, 2009

Pearl Olson's passing - a message from Carolyn

Dear Kyudo family,

As you may know by now, Pearl Olson (my mother) died Friday, March 13th at 10:55a.m., at her home here in Boulder. Shibata Sensei and I were present, along with two members of her remarkably large and caring circle of friends who have seen her through the last few months. She passed from ovarian cancer.

As per her request, her ceremony was held at Zenko Kyudojo, where she added kyudo to her various dharma practices at the age of 70. The ceremony took place Sunday at 10:55a.m. to align with the time of her death.

Pearl very much wanted an international announcement to be made upon her death that, in lieu of any gifts or flowers, people send contributions to:

Zenko International
4220 19th Street
Boulder, Colorado 80304

She greatly wished to support Shibata Sensei’s work for the benefit of sentient beings (and really abhorred the idea of expensive funeral flowers).

She was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She received her Buddhist refuge name from Trungpa Rinpoche: Fearless Dharma Cloud.

Pearl was long time student and practitioner of the Shambhala sangha, served as Academic Provost at Naropa University, helped start the Brattleboro, Vermont Shambhala Center and was an all-around willing and able helper in whatever form presented itself to her. She never balked at “lowly” tasks or particularly sought confirmation in positions and titles. The magnitude of her care circle these last number of months was a tribute to her willingness to give to others whenever she saw an opportunity to do so. She will be missed by many people, including me, her son Charles, her daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.

Thank you all for your practice and kindness to her throughout her life and death.

Carolyn Kanjuro


  1. Carolyn,
    I am so sorry to learn of Pearl's death. Just last night I did an Internet search for her and was delighted to discover her Boulder address. I tried that number, got no answer. Have wondered so many times where she was. We were good friends in Natchitoches LA, in the 1968-1973, roughly, time frame. My children (Peter and Stephanie) and I came to visit in Vermont about July 1982.
    Goodby to Pearl. She was such a special person, authentic and caring and deep. She remained a beacon in my life.

    Margaret Land

  2. I'm just reading this for the first time. I've thought of Pearl many times since I graduated from Naropa in 1992.

    Pearl was extremely kind to me. I had a terrible breakup with an abusive boyfriend, with whom I lived. Pearl cleared out her small meditation room so I could stay with her for a week or two while I found another place to live.

    She was also extremely wise when I brought to her a complaint from another female student about a sexual assault by a visiting writer during the summer writing program. She handled the situation perfectly.

    I loved Pearl.