MERRIAM MATOOK OLDS
82, passed away peacefully on 22 October 2020 with her husband and very dear Iraqi friend, Nidhal, at her side at Green Valley Hospital. She was born on 10 February 1938 in Pasadena, Ca to Margaret and Moses Matook.
Merriam graduated from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, attended USC, and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii soon after. She held numerous prestigious positions such as executive assistant to the producer of the first Hawaii Five-O series; personal assistant to the producer of night club shows at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa Room; executive assistant to the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Hawaiian Airlines on the mainland and in Hawaii; and manager and buyer for the convenience store in the U.S. Embassy, Cairo, Egypt.
She personally distinguished herself by being selected as the Cherry Blossom Princess representing Hawaii in the Washington, D.C. 1962 Cherry Blossom Festival that included 50 states. Soon after she was selected to be the special assistant to Senator Daniel Inouye, the first senator elected from Hawaii after statehood.
Merriam married her current husband Col (Ret) William Olds in 1979 and started a new leaf in her life. After accompanying her husband to the Defense Language Institute (Arabic) in Monterey, Ca, Merriam embarked on a new page in her life traveling to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. As the wife of the senior military diplomat, she played an active role representing the United States with local Arab communities. Merriam was very proud of her Lebanese heritage and easily adapted to the Middle Eastern culture. During this period Merriam traveled to Kuwait, Morocco, Bahrain, Europe, and Asia. She and Bill moved to Las Vegas in 1996 where she continued to be involved in numerous community activities.
Merriam is survived by her husband, step-children: Dr. Scott Olds, LTC (Ret) Duke (Kendra) Olds, Janeen Olds, Nalani (Stuart) Simpson, and dear friend, Nidhal Mohammed El Kalbi. She has eight step-grandchildren.
Merriam lived an amazing life with lots of love for others and will be deeply missed and loved by all who knew her particularly members of the University of Hawaii Alumni, Las Vegas Chapter, LV Hawaiian Civic Club, Hawaii Chapter of the Lions LV chapter, the LV Crafters Guild, and the numerous members of the Hawaiian Community whom she touched deeply with her love.