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Valley Catholic News

Honoring a valiant, distinguished life
Posted 02/13/2013 12:21PM
SSMO Foundation Events & Alumni Relations Manager Grace Le Chevallier (left) and Valley Catholic School President Bob Weber (right) congratulate 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree Pamela Martes Olberding.


Pamela Martes Olberding has received the 2013 Valley Catholic Distinguished Alumni Award. Olberding, who graduated from Valley Catholic (formerly St. Mary of the Valley High School) in 1962, received the award during a ceremony on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) campus on Feb. 13.

In the nomination form, Olberding was described as “instrumental in keeping the class of '62 together…an advocate for the school itself.”  

Born in Kansas, Pamela Martes Olberding is the oldest of six children. Her family moved to Portland, Ore. before her first birthday. After graduating from St. Cecilia School in Beaverton, Olberding remembers “picking berries and beans” to earn tuition to St. Mary of the Valley. Her family notes that she “loved everything about St. Mary’s, the campus, students, and especially the teachers.”

After graduation, she married her high school sweetheart, Mike Olberding. They lived in Texas, where Mike Olberding was stationed in the Army. Eventually, they moved to a 20-acre farm in Dundee, Ore. and Mike Olberding became an award-winning agent for State Farm Insurance in Newberg, Ore.

After her husband died in 2000, Olberding established the Mike Olberding Education Fund in his memory. The fund supports the educational needs of nurses, technicians and other employees at Providence Newberg Medical Center. Olberding is also active in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Today, Pamela Olberding works with three of her children in the State Farm office that her husband founded. She is active with St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Newberg, where she participates in Friday Night Community Dinners and serves on St. Peter’s Altar Society. She is a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas.

In addition to spending time with her seven children and 15 grandchildren, Pamela Olberding enjoys walking, yoga and exercise classes.

Olberding’s connections to the SSMO campus also include Maryville Nursing Home, where her mother received care prior to her death.

Her nominator wrote, “The greatest thing Pam offers our world is the love she shows to everyone, the rich, the poor, the needy….She's quick to say she doesn't do anything out of the ordinary, but she does. Once your life has been touched by her, you'll want to keep her there.”

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