A Celebration of Souls

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Joanne Strobel

By Joanne Strobel, Urantia Foundation, Georgia, United States

The Education Committee recently lost two beloved and respected members. Charles Olivea, 76, passed away Sunday, November 17, at his Santa Fe home. Dave Elders, 78, passed away Sunday, December 1, at Westchester Medical Center in Connecticut. Each is survived by his wife and two sons.

Both men were intellectual giants and many of you have had the privilege of working or studying beside them over the decades. I will leave it to others to extol their accomplishments within the Urantia community. Instead, I would like to celebrate the fruits of their spirits.


Charles Olivea
Charles Olivea

Charles was one of those rare and gifted teachers we all wish we had more of, one whose influence carries on well into adulthood. Comments left on his legacy site reveal a gentleman and scholar in the truest sense of the words. An Atticus Finch–like persona dressed in a suit and tie, he was remembered as “dignity mixed with humor” with his warm, welcoming smile and great laugh. Class discussions were lively, captivating, and enriching. No student ever felt left out or inferior. Each was important, and Charles touched their mind and their soul, igniting a lifelong love of learning. He brought history to life and fostered intellectual curiosity.

One revealing comment came from a woman who worked at his school but barely knew him. “I will just simply never forget this man of deep integrity. He lived in some different light than all of us.”

“I first met Charles in 1971. I believe he is the most sincere person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. And his faith was just as honest and sincere as his whole personality.” George Park


Dave Elders
Dave Elders

It will come as no surprise to anyone who had the privilege of working with Dave Elders that he was the consummate team player. A “hall of famer” with a lifelong love of sports, including baseball, hockey, football, boating, skiing, and golf, Dave found great joy and passion in working with youth. He helped found a local youth hockey association and spent many years coaching his sons and countless other kids in hockey and baseball. As a coach, Dave was positive, enthusiastic, supportive, trusting, focused, goal-oriented, knowledgeable, observant, respectful, patient, and a clear communicator.

He co-founded and was active in Saferides, a program that provides a free and confidential ride to students who are not in a condition to drive safely or who want to avoid being a passenger in such a situation. He helped change students’ attitudes about driving under the influence, and fostered concern for each other’s safety.

Dave also spent many years working with, and was a former chair of, the board of directors of Kids In Crisis, a nonprofit organization that provides crisis counseling, intervention, emergency shelter, and community education programs for children and teens.

Urantia Foundation is indebted to Dave for the enduring legacy he leaves to students, fellow facilitators, and board members of Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS). He served on its board of directors and co-chaired the Course Review Committee (CRC), working selflessly behind the scenes to help new facilitators develop classes. Never one to shy away from difficult topics like the Supreme, Dave created and facilitated courses year after year. He remained steadfastly devoted to self-revealed truth and was always patient, kind, and encouraging.

He excelled at crafting challenging questions such as, “Does the bestowal of unique personality by our Father make our destiny pathway to and experience of him actually unique; or, does it instead make our shared, common journey to him appear unique as we seek to unify it in the Supreme? Either way, does it matter?”

CRC co-chair Judy Cosky recalls how Dave seamlessly coped with missed deadlines, continuing his review work while on a family reunion in Europe last summer. Said Judy, ”What an example Dave was to me in spiritual patience! That was honestly a great demonstration of true cooperation with his Adjuster!“

Our UBIS team is a family that loves, supports, and uplifts one another. We are each feeling the loss of Dave’s presence, as are his many students. Guy Perron spoke for many of us when he said, “It was a joy and a privilege to serve with Dave on this special and confused world. And it will be a renewed spiritual joy when we are reunited again in the mansion worlds for more service—purposeful service, not slavery—which we know produces the highest satisfaction as we express the divine dignity that is indwelling each of us.”

Fellow director Dennis Sword observed, “We feel a sense of certain joy to know that our brother Dave has begun the transition into the next phase of his eternal life. What an adventure he’s about to begin, in the loving care of his angels and indwelling spirit of the Father.

“We also feel sadness at the loss of a true friend and fellow teacher. Be at peace, good brother!”

Both of these remarkable men may now be experiencing the glory of the mansion worlds, where they will continue to do great work, possibly together, no doubt enthralling an entourage of Morontia Companions while expounding about the Supreme.

Foundation Info

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