Story and photos by Lisa Carolin
Sunday, Aug. 6 was a proud day for the Olmsted family. That’s when a sculpture in memory of family matriarch Nancy Olmsted was dedicated at the Intergenerational Garden at the Washington Street Educational Center in Chelsea.
Nancy Olmsted died in 2012 at age 83. She was a Master Gardener who loved the outdoors. After her death, her family asked that memorial donations be given to the Chelsea Intergenerational Garden. That helped raise the funds to hire public art sculptor Rick DeTroyer to create a memorial in Olmsted’s honor.
Olmsted’s husband Norman Olmsted attended the Aug. 6 dedication along with three of their children as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I love it!” exclaimed Olmsted’s daughter, Nannette Kwiatek when she got her first look at the sculpture. “My mom would have loved the colors and form. This matches her wishes.”
“It reflects mom perfectly,” said Olmsted’s son, Russ Olmsted. “It’s exactly what she would have envisioned.”
Olmsted’s daughter, Marcia Myers said, “It looks like something she’d hang on her wall.”
Also in attendance were volunteer gardeners Mary and Jim Randolph, and Chelsea Senior Center Executive Director Trinh Pifer.
“Shortly before her death, Nancy learned about the Intergenerational Garden – a collaborative effort between kids and seniors of all ages – a fitting match for her interests,” said Pifer, referring to Olmsted’s work as a kindergarten teacher and as a geriatric social services worker. “As the garden had been in existence only since the beginning of 2012, staff and volunteers made a conscious decision to defer action until the garden had an opportunity to grow and mature.”
During the last several years, it was decided that the memorial funds be used for a piece of durable outdoor art.
“Rick DeTroyer is a local artist, a friend of the Chelsea Senior Center, and known for his ability to create unusual and colorful metal sculptures,” said Trinh. “With few restrictions, he was commissioned to design, build, and mount the sculpture.”
Now the Intergenerational Garden is home to the Nancy Olmsted Memorial, a red, blue, and yellow sculpture, the colors of the Chelsea Senior Center.