Joan M. Olivas

February 10th, 1942November 11th, 2020

Joan Marilyn Olivas, 78, of Lafayette, passed away November 11, 2020. Joan was born February 10, 1942 in Hamtramck, Michigan to Steve and Stella (Rinkowski) Szydlo. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan where she attended Catholic schools and graduated with honors from St. Anthony High School in 1960.  Joan then attended Wayne State University to study teaching, but while there she realized that she preferred working with numbers and pursued a career in bookkeeping.  She spent the majority of her career in the banking industry. 

Joan was very proud of being from “Motown” and loved the music of the 50’s and 60’s, especially Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  She was also an avid Detroit Tigers fan and had fond childhood memories of going to see them play at Tiger Stadium.  She was also enormously proud of her Polish ancestry and was famous for her galumpkis .  When returning to Detroit for a visit, her first stop was always at Kowalski Bakery to buy chrusciki, her favorite Polish pastry. 

Joan moved to Lafayette, CO in 1970 and resided and worked in the Boulder County area for the remainder of her life. In 1993 she married Alvaro “Kiki” Olivas in Boulder.  Her marriage to Kiki sparked her love for both the Spanish language and Spanish music.  

After her retirement, Joan enjoyed spending time at home with her family and her beloved dogs, Abby and Lucy.  She was very comfortable in her home surrounded by all her photos and knick-knacks, especially her Egyptian keepsakes.  Every morning you could find her on the front porch feeding “her” squirrels.  Throughout the day she would entertain herself by coloring or playing games on her computer.  She was always excited for Friday nights when she could watch a new episode of her favorite show, The Blacklist.  Her best days were those spent with her great-grandchildren and she got a kick out of talking about WWE or super heroes with her great-grandsons.  She also looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed coffee dates with her friend Marika.     

She is preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Frank Szydlo and her daughter, Andrea Casillas. Joan is survived by her husband of 27 years, Alvaro, her daughter, Kathleen (Robert) Rodriguez, three granddaughters; Erika (Grady) Weeks, Amy (Kenneth) Ness and Amanda (Skip) Cobb, six great-grandchildren; Olivia, Emma, Avery, Eli, Xaisyon and Vinny as well as two siblings; John and Mary Szydlo.



Memorial service will be held 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 18, 2020 with a graveside service to follow at Lafayette Cemetery.  

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in-person attendance has been limited to immediate family.  However, her memorial service will be live streamed as a way for all other family and friends to join in celebrating Joan’s life. Please click on link to view the service:

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made in Joan’s honor to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley ( or to another organization of their choice.


Lafayette Cemetery | Map


Darrell Howe Mortuary | Map




Joanie, We love you and will see you again where there is no pain and suffering! Our visits were always so nice. We wish they would have been way More Frequent! Prayers to all the family you left behind to get to the good place and party on with the family that gladly opened their arms to receive you!! Brandi & Ernest Bond
Kathy, my condolences to you and your family. Your mom was a wonderful lady and she will truly be missed. My prayers to you and your family. Love ❤️ Barb
Dear Cousin, It is with a heavy heart I am sending my condolences on the loss of your beloved friend and mother. Aunt Joanie is one of my all time favorite people. Her character was unique, her laugh was delightful and she was never a dull moment! My family adored her! There's comfort in knowing she's with our dear Andrea. Knowing the family that went ahead of us, she's probably playing pinnacle right now! You dear cousin, are loved and cherished and being prayed for during this time. May God grant you peace that passes understanding and may you know that although she's dearly missed here, you'll see her again, in the morning. With all my heart, love and devotion I love you sweet cousin! Marni Lewis