The Final Wrap
Dan-ecdotes: Readers' Memories of Dan Olmsted

Age of Autism’s Dan Olmsted – A Fine and Noble Man

AofA candles
By Cathy Jameson

Kids are like a litmus test.  If someone is a good person, they know it instantly.  If someone is a bad person, they know it even quicker.  My children got to meet Dan Olmsted a few years ago.  They knew immediately that he was more than just a good person; he was a fine and noble man. 

My children were as upset as my husband and I were when we got the news that a friend passed away.  My youngest cried and cried.  I did, too.  I have a few pictures of Dan at conferences and advocacy events, but the one I have of him with some of my crew is one of my favorites.  In it, my oldest is beaming.  She’s smiling because she knew just how amazing a human being Dan Olmsted was. 

Dan always made himself available, even when I had kids in tow.  I love that my children enjoyed Dan and FionaDan's company just as much as I did.  Their favorite memory is of us having breakfast with him at a little diner.  Full of excitement because they were finally going to meet Mommy's writing friend, the kids were beyond goofy that morning.  Not only that, they were excessively chatty, too.  I kept trying to hush them as we prepared to eat, but Dan was not bothered by their excitement nor by their extra chattiness.  He smiled so kindly enjoying the kids and their happiness.

While listening to them be so silly that morning, I smiled back at a man who exuded only peace.  Letting myself relax so I could soak in the moment, I realized just how big this moment was for my children - they were meeting one of my heroes live and in person...and were getting to eat breakfast with him, too!  It’s something that they won’t forget.  It's something that I'll never forget either.  

I'm honored that Dan generously gave so much of himself to me over the years - the helpful emails, the hopeful private messages, the countless positive and uplifting comments - he was so generous.  What struck me this week as I reread all of those exchanges is that no matter what we were talking about--be it Ronan, my family, autism, advocacy, upcoming legislation, or just life in general--Dan was always present.  In each and every communication we had, both in person and online, he was present.  He connected with me as if I were the most important person in the world to him. 

I am a better person because of my friend, and I know that my children are as well.  Always calm, always encouraging, and always so very thoughtful, Dan was, and will forever remain, a big part of our family's life.  I know that to be true for countless other families.  Dan opened a door.  He set the stage.  Then he gave us the platform.  He started a conversation about autism, even though he didn’t have to, he continued it.  Not only that, he gave us confidence to chime in and to always bravely speak our minds. 

Dan inspired.  He believed.  And he created community.  I hate that we have some last words from him, but those last words were*: 

Rebel Alliance, unite! 

Unite.  How fitting. 

(*from the 1/21/17 Weekly Wrap)

It will be hard, but my hope is that our community will find comfort together.  Today, we mourn what has been an unexpected and deeply profound loss.  In time, we carry on and do so in Dan’s honor.  Even though his time with us was brief, I promise you that he will be remembered for many years to come.  Peace, love, and prayers to those of whom my dear friend leaves behind.

To Dan, you were truly one of a kind, and you will be greatly missed. 

To Dan’s family, especially to Mark and to Rosie, I wish I could, but I simply cannot put into words just how much of an impact Dan had on my life as well as the lives of so many others.  Thank you for sharing him with us. 

To Dan’s friends, as difficult as it is now to imagine life without him, he brought many of us together.  That happened for a reason.  Let us never forget that.    

With only love and respect,

xo, Cat

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.




Katie Wright

Gary is right- what an impact this man made on our community of thousands. We were so lucky to have Dan fighting for the truth on behalf of our families. Dan was such a talented journalist and unusually empathetic. He certainly did not have to care about our kids but he sincerely did. Dan always asked me about Christian and had an uncanny ability to remember all details I shared with him. Dan Olmsted is gone far too soon and he will be so missed!

David Foster

Life is finite.
Love is not.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you, Cathy, so fitting for this day!


Beautiful tribute, Cathy. Love the photo - says it all.


What a wonderful things to say about another human being. Kids being chatty and he did not mind, giving of his time, kind and generous.

Gary Ogden

Cathy: He inspired, he motivated, he taught. In the short two years since I joined this community he taught me so much, not the least of which was humility. His searching mind was one of intellectual rigor, honesty, and humility. His impact on this world is greater than any president or prime minister, poet or philosopher.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)