Dr. Orlando Olcese passed away peacefully on the morning of Wednesday, August 25, 2016 surrounded by his loving family members in White Plains, NY. He was 92 years old.
Dr. Orlando Olcese, known affectionately as Papapa, was born in the city of Lima, Peru on April 27, 1924. He was the 4th child, and the 3rd son of Giuseppe and Esther Olcese.
Among many things, he was an academic, businessman, educator, conservationist, author, and diplomat for the United Nations.
Orlando Olcese obtained his bachelors at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Lima, Peru (“La Molina”), in 1945. He went on to obtain a Masters of Science (1948), and a PhD (1950), at Texas A&M University in Biochemistry and Nutrition. It is noteworthy that in 1995, Texas A&M created a prize for the most outstanding alumnus abroad, granting it for the first time to Dr. Olcese. The award was subsequently given to a number of heads of state, and foreign presidents.
In his beloved country, Peru, he established South America’s first supermarket chain in 1952. He served as the Vice President of the Agricultural Development Bank of Peru, as a board member of a number of state organizations (the Research and Extension Service, the Agrarian Reform Institute, and Institute of the Sea), and as the Chairman of the National Agrarian Council, and Forestry Council of Peru. He was the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in the Cabinet of President Fernando Belaunde Terry.
In academia, Dr. Olcese has had a long and distinguished career. He dedicated his life to teaching others, as a longstanding Professor of Animal Nutrition, and Biochemistry. Beyond this, he served as the head of the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences, as Dean of Agriculture, and as President of La Molina. During his tenure as President of La Molina, he succeeded in converting the old school of agriculture into a modern agrarian university.
He continued his involvement at La Molina, where the library is named after him, and where he served as the chairman of the International Potato Institute.
In the international sector, Dr. Olcese served for many years in various United Nations Organizations. He has served as the Chief of the Latin America Service in the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. He has been the Resident Representative of the United Nations Developmental Program (“UNDP”) in Central America. He has been deputy Director, and the Director of the Bureau for Africa of the UNDP in New York. He has also been the Executive Secretary of the UN Capital Development Fund. He served as personal representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations in Haiti.
Of this list of accomplishments, Orlando’s greatest source of pride and most celebrated achievement was his family. He is predeceased in death by his beloved wife Rosa, daughter Myrna, and son Orlando. He is also predeceased by his siblings Jose, Aldo, Ida, and Yole. He is survived by his sons Gino (Rose), Piero (Angela), Paolo (Carolyn), Luigi (Jody), and daughter-in-law Judy. He is also survived by his grandchildren Nic, Mariana, Gino, Cristina, Orlando, Piero, Carlo, Fabio, Angelo, Ella, Alex, and Matteo. He is also survived by his siblings Dante, Talo, Lucha, and Tala.
A mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, August 27th at 10AM at Our Lady of Fatima RC on Strathmore Road. There will be no viewing. His family will escort his ashes to Lima, Peru to his final resting place next to his wife, Rosa.
Papapa’s philosophy can best be expressed by the words of Nat King Cole in the song “Nature Boy,” which he repeatedly sang to his grandchildren: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return.”