Jerry Olmstead, longtime hearing loss advocate, mentor, and HLAA leader passed away this past November. He leaves behind his wife and fellow hearing loss advocate Joanna Olmstead, a son and daughter, and with a legacy of serving others and ensuring that people with hearing loss can participate equally throughout Washington State.
For fourteen years, Jerry was an officer in the HLAA–Skagit chapter, including five years as president, and during that time the chapter grew from 10 members to 40. After he received his cochlear implant, he realized how important it was to truly hear and communicate with his family, so he dedicated himself to helping others get the most out of their CI. With Bert Lederer, Jerry co-founded the Northwest Cochlear Implant Support Group and mentored many people along their CI journey.
Later, hearing loops became a new mission for Jerry. Along with Joanna, Jerry was instrumental in getting several hearing loops installed in northern Washington State, including at the Burlington and Anacortes Libraries, the Anacortes Community Theater, Skyline Clubhouse, and City of Anacortes Council Chambers.
Jerry spent his retirement years traveling, learning photography, enjoying time with friends and family, and boating throughout the Pacific Northwest, including in the San Juan and Gulf Islands.
We’re deeply grateful to Jerry for generously using his time and talents to help people with hearing loss and to provide such wise and energetic leadership to HLAA for so many years. His work endures in the form of empowered friends, fantastic public hearing access, and the memory of his huge heart and caring service to others.