Former Mercer Island pastor, archaeologist dies at 62

Rev. Jack Olive - Contributed Photo
Rev. Jack Olive
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Rev. Jack D. Olive, 62, the pastor of the Mercer Island United Methodist Church for 13 years, died on Jan. 9 at his Seattle home. He served as the pastor of MIUMC from 1989 to 2002.

“We just adored him,” said Sue Ogilvie, church member and volunteer. “He was a tremendously beloved pastor.”

In addition to being a clergyman, Rev. Olive spent over 30 years as a field archaeologist in Israel, Palestine and the Crimean peninsula.

“For 35 years he dug with various groups,” Ogilvie said. “I went to Israel in 2000 on a dig through UPS with him when he was the site manager at Cana, and he was all over the place, digging and supervising. He was an incredible archaeologist, and he had dear friends in Israel who were Israeli archaeologists. He had a very close friend who is a Palestinian Christian.” She added that after he would return from Israel at the end of summer, “he would come back just in tears about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

Born on Sept. 7, 1949, in Tacoma, Rev. Olive graduated from Federal Way High School, Pacific Lutheran University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He had a dual degree in biblical archaeology and theology, served as the assistant dean for Ecumenical Relations at the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, and was an adjunct professor of biblical studies and archaeology at Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound.

Rev. Olive died of diffuse systemic sclerosis. He was the pastor of several United Methodist churches in Western Washington. Memorial gifts are suggested to the Rev. Jack and Dr. Glynn Olive Scholarship for Interfaith Dialogue at Seattle University.

Memorial service

A memorial service for Rev. Olive will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1 p.m. at University Temple United Methodist Church.


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