Newsflash: John Olsson Dead at 78

I've got a really big case of the sads this evening, my friends. I just heard the no good news that John Olsson, otherwise known to legions of Washingtonians as founder and guiding force between much-loved and much-missed book/music hybrid chain Olssons, had died on October 28th of a heart attack at the age of 78. The Post has all the details.

This loss isn't just sad because of what Olsson did for Washington. It's got personal resonance, too. I spent a couple very happy years at the Olssons on 7th Street in Penn Quarter, doling out sage and frequently unsolicited music advice, and will always consider those days some of the happiest and most professionally (and personally) fulfilling of my entire life. The people I met there, the friends I worked with, the things I much goodness crammed into such a short span of time, and none of it would have been possible without Mr. Olsson. He touched so many lives, be it directly or indirectly as the case may be, and it truly saddens me to reflect on the death of a Washington institution. I will forever curse the Big Bad Corporate Bookstores for leading to the demise of local places, not just here, but all over the dang place. DC was already a slightly duller place without the Olssons chain, and now it is even duller without the man himself. Rest in peace, Mr. Olsson. You are already missed.

[Photo by James A. Parcell]


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