- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

Family and friends will hold a memorial service in Arlington Saturday for Barbara K. Olson, wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and one of the 64 persons who died when their hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon by terrorists.
A Republican activist and television commentator, Mrs. Olson, 45, managed to call her husband twice with details of the hijacking before the plane went down.
The memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, 3901 Cathedral Lane, Arlington.
Mrs. Olson wasn't supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 77, which took off Tuesday from Washington Dulles International Airport, family members have said.
She had changed her Monday airline reservation and stayed in town to have a birthday dinner with Mr. Olson the evening before his birthday on Tuesday.
The couple had been married for almost five years and lived in Great Falls.
During one of her final conversations with her husband, Mrs. Olson had asked him what she should tell the pilot to do. Then her call was cut off.
Yesterday, several family friends said they still couldn't believe Mrs. Olson, a woman they described as "extraordinary," was gone.
"I can't even use the word 'was' when I talk about her," said Pat Harrison, a friend and former co-chairman of the Republican National Committee. "She was extremely loyal, passionate and funny. She was the kind of person everyone wanted to be around."
Mrs. Harrison said Mrs. Olson always worked to change things for the better. "Even in her final moments of her life, she was thinking about how she [and the other passengers] can change the situation they were in on the plane," she said.
Mrs. Olson had a knack for making friends fast and tried to help them any way she could. Among those was Wes Rush, a Prince William County man who recently lost his position as a staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Rush said yesterday Mrs. Olson, whom he met earlier this summer, was helping him find a job.
In fact, she sent him an e-mail last week to set up a meeting with him when she got back from her trip to California, Mr. Rush said.
"She was a woman who was deeply motivated and committed to her country," Mr. Rush said. "Despite her busy schedule, she would take time to help anyone she could. She was a true patriot."
At the time of her death, Mrs. Olson worked as a lawyer for Balch & Bingham on Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest, where her area of expertise was legislative and regulatory matters.
Mrs. Olson had served on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform since 1999.
Originally from Houston, Mrs. Olson came here in 1989, when she took a job in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, a position she got through a fellowship she received during her last year at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York.
She met Mr. Olson at a legal conference later that year. They married in 1996.
The confirmation hearings on Clarence Thomas for the U.S. Supreme Court propelled Mrs. Olson into the realm of television news talk shows, where she often offered a conservative view on sexual harassment and other issues. She then worked for Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans.
In 1992, Mrs. Olson became an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, prosecuting mostly drug cases.
In 1995, after Republicans won control of Congress, Mrs. Olson became chief investigative counsel with the House Government Reform Committee.
In 1998, Mrs. Olson became counsel for Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican.
More recently, Mrs. Olson wrote a critical book about then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, titled "Hell to Pay." She had just completed another book about the Clinton administration, titled "The Final Days," which is to be released later this year.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Olson is survived by a stepdaughter, Christine E. Olson of Phoenix; a stepson, Kenneth J. Olson of Ashburn, Va, his wife, Laura Olson, and their children, Hayley, Jillian and Kirstin; a brother, David Bracher Sr., and his wife, Sharon Apel, of Houston; a sister, Antoinette "Toni" Lawrence, and her husband, Bob, of Houston; five nieces and nephews; seven great-nieces and great-nephews.
Mrs. Olson is preceded in death by her father, V.C. Bracher, and mother, Louise Bracher.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Barbara Olson Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, c/o Office of Development, 55 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10003.


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