Bobbi Olson Remembered

Jan. 7, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Bobbi Olson was remembered Sunday for her elegance,grace, hospitality and even her long shopping binges during a two-hour memorialservice at McKale Center.

The wife of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson was 65 years old when shedied New Year's Day after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer.

About 4,000 people attended the service, which was televised live by allthree television stations in Tucson and by Fox Sports Net.

As part of the ceremony, the McKale Center court was renamed the Lute andBobbi Olson Court. The floor had been proclaimed Lute Olson Court near the endof the 2000 season.

'Thanks for your smile and for your wink,' former Arizona player BruceFraser said. 'Thanks for the constant reminder that everything is going to befine. Thanks.'

There was a private funeral service Friday with about 500 people inattendance.

Bobbi Olson was diagnosed with cancer nearly 2 1/2 years ago after initiallyfeeling ill while on vacation in Budapest, Hungary.

Doctors surgically removed a blockage in her intestines. During theprocedures a sizable mass was discovered. The Olson's had doctors from Tucsonfly to Hungary to begin the rehabilitation and chemotherapy.

'What was supposed to be a fun and cultural experience turned into anightmare,' said Paul Wietman, an Olson travel companion and longtime familyfriend. 'She truly was the ultimate wife, mother, grandmother and friend to usall.'

Bobbi Olson underwent additional medical procedures in December, promptingLute Olson to miss a road game Dec. 9 at Connecticut. Lute Olson asked for anindefinitely leave of absence two days before his wife's death.

Also attending the memorial service were current team members, at least adozen former players, former assistant coaches and U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz.

'Mrs. O meant so much to all of us,' current Wildcats forward RichardJefferson said. 'She always knew what to say, when to say something and how tosay it.'

Stories were recalled about Bobbi Olson's extensive shopping exploits,making apple pancakes for recruits when they first visited the school and forbeing a second mom to the players.

There was also a request that her regular seat in McKale Center, in Section16, Row 2, Seat 5 be retired. Two flowers rested on her chair during thememorial.

Bobbi Olson is survived by three daughters, Vicki, Jodi and Christi, twosons, Greg and Steve, and 13 grandchildren.

The family has asked that any remembrances be made in the form ofcontributions to a memorial fund in Bobbi Olson's name at the Arizona CancerCenter in Tucson.

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