Killroy Pest Control’s remaining founder passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease on Monday morning, July 13th.
Norma Hunter Olavarri was a “force to be reckoned with” since her youth in Southern California. After high school, she grabbed the opportunity to leave an unhappy home and travel alone to San Francisco for nursing school and to eventually serve in WWII. The war ended about the time she graduated and she didn’t have the opportunity to join the military. On a blind date a short time later she met Phil, a dashing pilot who had heroically served in the European theater.
Mom and Dad married and settled in Campbell. In 1956, while Mom was pregnant and raising two other children, Dad suggested they start their own pest control company. What a stressful time that must have been! Eventually Dad would drive through neighborhoods pulling a tank and knocking on doors, and Mom would call customers and send invoices from the kitchen table. For a time, Mom went back to nursing at night, to help with expenses while the kids were growing up. Then Mom worked in the Killroy office until the 1980s.
Mom and Dad were a team in managing our company through most of its youth. She was still a “force to be reckoned with” in Killroy’s development. (Even though I remember her saying she lost one of the first arguments with Dad about truck colors - and the trucks were painted red, rather than green.) Mom made sure employees had complete health care coverage starting in 1958. She was a proponent of change - sometimes to dad’s hesitation. When the staff got bigger than the facility could handle, she forged ahead and remodeled so there was a workroom for technicians.
The “family feel” at Killroy began with my mother. She was interested in every staff member and their families, and the early summer picnics and Christmas parties were hosted by her and dad at their home. In her last few years, mom would still ask about Killroy...and Mark, Tom, Ken and Don.
Richard, Jan, Matt, Cody, Kendra, Garrett and I will miss her terribly, but are comforted knowing we are blessed to be carrying on such a special, unique legacy.