Our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Olga L. Tatter nee Jarkovská, passed away quietly on June 3, 2013, in Los Alamos, New Mexico near her children. She was 99.
She was a devoted mother, a vibrant, courageous woman, intelligent, with an indomitable spirit filled with the joy of life. She had a quick smile, a gentle laugh and a telling sense of humor. She was born in Mladá Boleslav on Nov. 14, 1913 and raised in Hradec Králové, Czechoslovakia. She left her native land late in 1938 on a student scholarship to the University of Dubuque in Iowa, where she was the first woman to receive a master’s degree in religious education from the Dubuque Theological Seminary in 1941. She became a proud U.S. citizen in 1947.
Olga married the Reverend J. Paul Tatter in 1941. Together they served the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in Binghamton, NY, the First Congregational Church in Hillsboro, WI, the Park Hill Congregational Church in Denver, CO, the Church in the Wildwood in Green Mountain Falls, CO, and the First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs, CO. Olga served for many years as an official translator for the Social Security Administration and was the official translator for the Czech National Bicycle Racing Team at the World Championships. She was a member of the Colorado Governor’s Council on Aging.
Olga was always ready for adventure. She rode a mule down the Grand Canyon and hiked out in her 50s. She went hot air ballooning in her 80s and rafted down the Rio Grande with the seniors in her 90s. She had a love of, and a special relationship with, children. At 98 she met once a week with the children of Canyoncito Montessori School to tell them about her life in Czechoslovakia and the country’s history. Recently she enthusiastically engaged in singing old Czech and American folk songs, of which she knew more than 100, playing her harmonica, and talking with the birds.
Olga was preceded in death by her husband, the Reverend J. Paul Tatter, her beloved father Samuel Jarkovský and mother Aloisie, stepmother Ruena, sister Jarka (Jaroslava) Pearah, and grandson Scott Gogulski. She is survived by her son Paul, daughter Ruth and husband David Moir, grandsons Vláa Tatter and wife Attila Berry, and Todd Gogulski, great-granddaughter Natasha Tatter, brother-in-law John Pearah and partner Jean Erwin, nephew Paul Pearah and his son Ethan, and by her caregivers Linda Stearns, Thea Medina, and Bunny Romero.
In a 1983 letter to her daughter, Olga wrote, “Life seems to go by so fast, but, when I hear the beautiful children’s voices and see all this beauty around me, I do not want to leave it as yet. I want to stay a little longer…I can feel the ecstasy of the caressing warm sun, the beauty of a raindrop or a dewdrop on a petal of a flower, the wonder of a rainbow or of the colorful sunset — but I never experienced a direct sadness of ‘I’ll never see it again’.” She did stay a little longer to celebrate the simple wonder of everything and everyone she loved. Olga was a strong woman of many talents and many friends. She never gave up. We love her and miss her deeply.
A memorial service was held at The United Church of Los Alamos, 2525 Canyon Road, Los Alamos, New Mexico at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 24. Interment of ashes was next to her husband J. Paul in the Meditation Glen at the Broadmoor Community Church, UCC, 315 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO.