David Oliver, who coordinated the Help Desk Services office in the Information Technology Services department at Colorado State University-Pueblo, died unexpectedly at home Tuesday, Jan 26. He was 34.
Oliver is survived by his mother, Edna; his wife of 13 years, Erica, and their children Ravan, 12, and Sarrick, 10.
A graduate of Central High School, Oliver held a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from the University of Southern Colorado. In August 2003 he accepted a job as a web developer/technical support staff at the university, and later took over as a student technology support specialist. In 2007 he took charge of Help Desk Services.
Sharon Spalding said her nephew loved life and everyone with whom he came in contact.
“I’m in shock over having lost my nephew,” Spalding said. “David was a man with a good heart who loved his job and helping people. This is so tragic, he was so young.”
Carol Naranjo said her son-in-law loved to read and listen to music, particularly the British rock group, Led Zeppelin. She said it wasn’t unusual for Oliver to sip coffee as he listened to music or read the newspaper on his computer each morning.
Naranjo said Oliver loved his job at CSU-Pueblo because it allowed him to work with computers and still spend quality time with his family. She said his greatest ambition was to provide for his family.
According to Naranjo, Oliver was a gifted artist who spent hours in his home studio painting, creating pottery and working on his computer.
“His family probably won’t sell any of his work now that he is no longer with us,” Naranjo said. Erica could not be reached for comment.
CSU-Pueblo President Joe Garcia said Oliver was a valued member of CSU-Pueblo. He said Oliver’s pleasant, low-key style and technical skills made him the perfect help desk supervisor.
“Everyone with whom I have talked is shocked and saddened by David’s passing,” Garcia said. “People have said David was the kind of person you liked to call with a technical question.”
CSU-Pueblo Provost Russ Meyer described Oliver as a hard-working, highly dedicated employee who served the campus through his work with the help desk.
“He (Oliver) was liked by all who knew him, and he will be badly missed not just by the ITS staff, but by all of us who came into contact with him,” Meyer said. “Our deepest sympathies go out to his friends and family.”
David Niccoli, chief information officer of ITS, said Oliver provided a remarkably high level of assistance to this dynamically demanding area. He said Oliver’s interpersonal skills were his strongest assets, and that he handled end-users in a very courteous and professional manner.
“But, David was much more than that – he was a friend,” Niccoli said. “He would always provide ‘one-liners’ to put a lighter perspective on a difficult situation, and he went out of his way to say hello and to see how you were doing. The IT department is like a family, and David’s loss has deeply affected us all. We will truly miss him, his character and friendship.”
Oliver’s mother-in-law Carol Naranjo said Oliver’s greatest ambition was to be there for his family.
IT Technician Jennifer Torres said Oliver’s friendliness, sense of humor, and willingness to help people are traits for which he will be remembered.
“He (Oliver) enjoyed sharing the tamales that his wife made during the holidays,” Torres said. “My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this difficult time. He will be deeply missed and not be forgotten.
IT Technician Mark Sargent said Oliver was a fun guy who knew how to make people laugh.
“I worked with Dave for almost two years and he always had a comment that could make people laugh,” Sargent said. “He was a light-hearted guy, and his passing was unexpected and is unfortunate.”
Lyn Brown, CSU-Pueblo switchboard operator, praised Oliver for his humor and artistic ability.
“Dave was a character and gifted potter,” Brown said. “I have a couple of his ceramic pieces which I will watch over carefully now.”
IT Professional Matthew Watson said Oliver had a knack for looking at people with a straight face and saying something that could reduce you to laughter.
“Dave was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known… you could never tell if he was joking or not,” Watson said. “Dave was a professional, too. He took his responsibilities seriously and always communicated patience and understanding with those whom he helped. He was reliable. He was real, he was funny, he was human.”
Watson continued, “On a personal note, I had no idea how profound his loss would impact me. It has impacted me deeply. A friend has suddenly been lost… and he will be sorely missed.”
In an e-mail to the campus, Cora Zaletel, the executive director of External Affairs, said CSU-Pueblo expresses its condolences to friends, family and co-workers.
Oliver will be cremated, Naranjo said, and a memorial service date and time will be announced.