Cover photo for Barbara Jean Olive's Obituary
Barbara Jean Olive Profile Photo

Barbara Jean Olive

February 19, 1930 — February 18, 2024

Madison

Barbara Jean Olive

At age 93, Barbara Jean Olive (nee Nukow) passed away on February 18, 2024 after suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years Harry E. Olive Jr., and sons Philip and Christopher. Barbara leaves behind her children Judith Bezdecny, Peter (Jill) Olive, Michael (Melissa Barclay) Olive, Mary (Mark) Saunders, Geraldine Podany, Catherine (Eric Gunderson) Olive, and Margaret (David Dati) Olive, in addition to her daughter-in-law Sue (Gary) Munger. She is further survived by 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Born in 1930, Barbara grew up in Milwaukee, WI where she started school at Saints Peter and Paul Parish. She graduated from Messmer Highschool and then attended Lawrence University in Appleton for a year before leaving to marry her World War II sweetheart Harry on November 13, 1948. Together, they raised their nine children, along with many pets, in Whitefish Bay, WI. For fun, Barbara and Harry bravely loaded up the family in their passenger van for an annual camping adventure at Point Beach State Park and made many road trips to Round Lake to visit grandparents.

Barbara returned to school in her 40’s and first earned her LPN and then her RN. She worked as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee, enjoying her career in first the nursery and then the new hospice. Barbara self-published two books on the topic of grief following the death of two sons and based on her experience as a hospice nurse.

Barbara’s passion for social justice led her to volunteer with the North Shore Democrats, the Democratic Party of WI, and run for the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly. She was an active member of the previous Holy Rosary Church where she made many lasting friendships, and later attended Saints Peter and Paul Parish until her illness.

Barbara will be remembered for her playful humor, resilience, joyful spirit, compassion and faith. Her illness and death have left an empty place in the lives of those she loved and who loved her. She was a joy to know.

A celebration of life will be held at Gateway church, 3510 High Rd in Middleton, on March 20 at 10am, with visitation afterward.  A funeral mass at Sts. Peter and Paul in Milwaukee will be held on June 8 at 11am, with internment at Holy Cross cemetery following the service.

The family would like to acknowledge the wonderful caregivers and staff from Right at Home who helped care for Barbara the past 4 years. And many thanks to Brighton hospice for helping us through the last months of her life. 

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3325 E. Washington Ave.

Madison (608) 249-6666


Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com

Upcoming Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, June 8, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Saints Peter & Paul Parish

2490 N Cramer St, Milwaukee, WI 53211

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Past Services

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Gateway Community Church

3510 High Rd, Middleton, WI 53562

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Visitation

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Gateway Community Church

3510 High Rd, Middleton, WI 53562

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