Judith Lamb Olsen, Burlco College library director

Judith Lamb Olsen
Judith Lamb Olsen
Posted: June 11, 2013

When she was in grammar school, Judith Lamb Olsen would look forward to walking through the graveyards of Pemberton Township, husband Douglas said.

Her grandfather had a heart condition, and, Douglas said, "for exercise, he would walk through the cemeteries."

"And he would tell stories about the names on the gravestones."

From that came not only a published history of Pemberton, he said, but a career caring for the works of storytellers.

On Sunday, June 2, Mrs. Olsen, 69, of Mount Holly, who retired as library director at Burlington County College in 2005, died of cancer at Virtua Memorial medical center in Mount Holly.

The Olsens in 1976 self-published 1,000 copies of her history, Pemberton: A Historic Look at a Village on the Rancocas, and, her husband said, "it sold out pretty fast."

Mrs. Olsen also wrote several histories of the Lippincott family, which, he said, were published by the Gloucester County Historical Society.

She grew up in Pemberton and was valedictorian of the Class of 1961 at Pemberton Township High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in English literature at Wheaton (Ill.) College in 1965, and a master's of library and information science at Rutgers University in 1971.

"When she did something," her husband said, "she did not do the job; she expanded it exponentially."

As a high school senior, he said, "though she was a Baptist who didn't dance, she organized the prom at the high school."

In her senior year at Wheaton, where Douglas Olsen was a teacher of English literature, "she was treasurer of the literature society," he said, but she "was doing what the president should have been doing."

After they married, the Olsens in 1970 moved to Pemberton, where, starting in 1973, he was a high school teacher for 30 years.

Mrs. Olsen began working at the county college library in 1971. "She replaced the catalog librarian," her husband said, and faced "with all this backlog of stuff, Judy polished it off in about a month."

She was president of the board of trustees of the Burlington County Historical Society and a board member of the New Jersey Genealogical Society.

An elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly, she was a member of Lay Witness Missions in which, her husband said, members of several denominations visit a church to share their religious views.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Olsen is survived by daughter Polly Olsen; two brothers; and four grandchildren.

Visitation was set for 11 a.m. to noon Monday, June 10, at the First Presbyterian Church, 125 Garden St., Mount Holly, before a memorial service there at 12:30 p.m. Interment is to be private.

Donations may be made to the Burlington County Historical Society, 457 High St., Burlington, N.J. 08016.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.perinchief.com.

Contact Walter F. Naedele

at 610-313-8134, wnaedele@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @WNaedele.

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