F. Bruce Olmstead
F. Bruce Olmstead died peacefully in his home on October 14, 2016 in Annapolis, Maryland at the age of 81. Bruce was the devoted husband of Gail Burner Olmstead and beloved father of three daughters and grandfather of five grandchildren. Born on June 17, 1935 and raised in Elmira, NY, Bruce earned a BA in History at Kenyon College before being commissioned in the U.S. Air Force on June 3, 1957. Bruce proudly served his country as a career Air Force officer and pilot with assignments at Forbes AFB (Kansas), MacDill AFB (Florida), Eglin AFB (Florida), Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio), Command and Staff College (Alabama), and the Pentagon. Bruce also served as Commander of the Air Force ROTC detachment at Kent State University (Ohio). His final assignment was as Air Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1980 until his retirement at the rank of colonel on November 1, 1983. In July 1960, Bruce became the subject of national attention as the co-pilot of an RB47 reconnaissance flight shot down by Soviet fighter jets over international waters near the Soviet Union. Bruce was one of two survivors and was held by the Soviet Union for seven months at Lubyanka Prison in Moscow. President John F. Kennedy greeted Bruce and his fellow crew member upon their return to United States in late January, 1961. The episode was the subject of a 1962 book, "The Little Toy Dog", and has been frequently noted in later histories of the Cold War. Bruce was honored with the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Purple Heart for his military service. Bruce had a long and happy retirement in Annapolis, where he enjoyed sailing and his membership in the New Providence Club among other activities. He also loved to build model ships, listen to music, watch Nats' baseball, travel and spend time with his family and many friends. Bruce was delighted in September to learn that he will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by Kenyon College. He is survived by his wife Gail Olmstead, daughter Karen Olmstead Busek and son-in-law Brian Busek, brother Dr. C. Brent Olmstead, and grandchildren Sarah Mackenzie, Katherine Mackenzie, Lincoln Busek, Charles Page, and Margaret Busek. He is preceded in death by daughters Karel Olmstead Page and Elizabeth Olmstead Mackenzie, his parents J. Blaine and Madge Olmstead, and brother Rev. James B. Olmstead. A memorial gathering is scheduled from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Sunday, October 23 at the John M. Taylor Funeral Home (147 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, MD) with interment at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Bruce's life at the memorial gathering. The family suggests any memorial contributions be sent to the Wounded Warrior Project or the cause of your choice.
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