Michael John Oliva
Michael John Oliva

July 18, 1930 - November 3, 2016
Resided in Highlands Ranch, CO
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Michael John Oliva "Mike" passed away peacefully at home on November 3 after battling Lymphoma for the past year. The son of Sadie (Medici) and John Oliva, Mike is survived by Clarice, his wife of 62 years, daughter Jean Oliva Rasbach (Chuck), grandson Eric Rasbach (Angela), sister Rosemarie Schutte (Henry). In addition, he leaves many cherished friends.

Born on July 18, 1930, Mike grew up in Patterson, New Jersey. He graduated from Panzer College with a degree in physical education, he played soccer. Soon after graduation he obtained physical therapy certification. He joined the army in 1953 and served at Fitzsimmons until his discharge in 1955. Clarice and Mike married in 1954.

Mike's early years in the Public Health Service took him to Washington, D.C. outpatient clinic, then to New York City. He earned his Master's in Rehabilitation of the Handicapped at Columbia University. In 1963, he moved the family to Ann Arbor, Michigan so he could attain his Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan. In 1965, Mike transferred to Colorado. Once here, he was determined to never leave, even if it meant finding a new position.

A man of many talents and interests, Mike's friends know him for one or two specific endeavors, but there was so much more to him than most knew. In his earlier adult years he enjoyed camping with the family, trout fishing, hiking, and exploring this area of the country. He reveled in refurbishing cars from the engine to the exterior. He forever had a car in pieces all over the garage, known affectionately as "The White Star Garage", complete with signage. He spent countless weekends on the ski slopes, primarily Geneva Basin and Arapahoe Basin. He hunted antelope, elk, deer, pheasant and goose, all of which Clarice learned to cook.

Mike's love of Italian food and red wine defined him over the years. We teased him about being "food motivated". There was rarely a food he didn't like, but pasta and Italian were his favorites. He continued his gardening way of life until recently.

Mike's passion included many causes surrounding the elderly and handicapped. In the 1970's he purchased a small apartment building with the primary goal to make it wheelchair accessible mostly for the elderly. He continued his support of rehabilitation as a participant in the Italian Open, a benefit for Craig Rehabilitation Center. As an Italian-American he proudly wore his Italian garb, ate Italian food and hob-knobbed with other Italian men in the Denver area. During these functions, he played Bocce, eventually ran the tournament and even won a few times.

Mike gained his love of music from his father, John. Guitar music punctuated family dinner gatherings. He played throughout his life and passed this talent to his grandson, Eric. In addition to guitar instrumental music, he enjoyed listening to Dixieland jazz.

In his later years Mike became very active in the Republican Party. As a precinct captain, he spent an unbelievable number of hours knocking on doors, holding meetings, putting together mailings and making phone calls. He continued this work until a few weeks before his death.

Funeral mass and reception at 9:30AM on Thursday, November 17 at Horan & McConaty, 5303 E. County Line Road (also see http://www.horancares.com/about-us/located-near-you/south-metrocentennial/). Internment at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, 1:30 PM.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests consideration of a Memorial Contribution to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, http://www.lymphoma.org/faf/r.asp?t=4&i=1058267&u=1058267-441369517&e=9037870243 .

Please share memories and condolences with the family below.




Horan & McConaty - County Line
5303 East County Line Road
Centennial, CO US 80122
Thursday, November 17, 2016
9:30 AM
Fort Logan National Cemetery - Area B
3698 South Sheridan Boulevard
Denver, CO US 80235
Thursday, November 17, 2016
1:30 PM