Rev. Robert Olmstead, Senior Pastor Emeritus
The Rev. Bob Olmstead was the Senior Pastor for the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto from 1993 until he retired in 2003.
Prior to coming to Palo Alto he held pastorates in Reno, Nevada and in Oakland, Windsor and Santa Rosa, California. Rev. Olmstead graduated in 1961 from the University of Rochester with an honors degree in English Literature. He continued his graduate study at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley from which he graduated in 1965. Books remain a major joy for him, especially American fiction and historical biographies
During his extensive career, Rev. Olmstead marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., chaired the first Board of Directors of Home Hospice in Sonoma County and helped develop a homeless shelter in Reno.
Rev. Olmstead’s wife, Carol, is retired from a career teaching college mathematics. They have four grown children and four grandchildren.
In honor of his long, dedicated service to the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, the Church Conference voted in January 2006 to name him Senior Pastor Emeritus.
Rev. Doug Norris, Senior Pastor Emeritus
Rev. Doug Norris has served two pastorates at First Church. From 1969 to 1974, he was appointed here as the Associate Pastor, and from 1983 until 1993, he was appointed as our Senior Minister. The Rev. Norris is Senior Pastor Emeritus at First Church.
In addition to his appointments in California, Rev. Norris has served in Minnesota, Texas, Illinois, Japan and Australia. He graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, where he studied philosophy and religion. Rev. Norris received his Master of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.
Rev. Doug Norris and his wife, Eleanor, have three sons and eight grandchildren. He enjoys travel, spending time with his grandchildren and music. The Rev. Norris is an acclaimed vocalist and occasionally weaves music into his sermons.
You can read Rev. Norris’s recent sermons at www.dougnorris.com.
David Parsons, Organist Emeritus
David Parsons served as our organist for 17 years until he moved out of the area in July 2004. In honor of his long, dedicated service to the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, and his loving care and upkeep of the Merritt Speidel Memorial Organ, David was named Organist Emeritus on July 25, 2004. This is only the third time that an Emeritus title has been given to someone in the 100+ year history of First Palo Alto.
David Parsons is a graduate of Princeton, Northwestern and Cambridge Universities, and of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Illinois). A native of Pennsylvania, David started piano study at age six and began studying the organ at age thirteen with Charles T. Maclary at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Other organ teachers have included Carl Weinrich (Princeton University), Richard Enright (Northwestern University) and the late Peter le Huray (St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge). He has taught at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and at the New College, Berkeley. He has also worked as an organ builder, and has supervised the extensive restoration efforts of the organs of the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto.
David has made a specialty of composing and compiling classical scores for the great silent films. He became the Organist at FUMCPA in September 1987. He works in San Jose at Adobe Systems Incorporated, where he produces digital typefaces. He has concertized widely throughout Britain, Barbados, and the USA, and he has played in services and recitals in such English cathedrals as Wells, Salisbury, Ely, Southwark, and Winchester.
David was responsible for playing organ for all worship services of the church where the organ is required, and for accompanying the choirs in all rehearsals and services. The church’s active schedule of weddings kept him busy on most Saturdays. David was also responsible for the care of all keyboard instruments in the church.
During the course of the years 2000 and 2001, David was on leave of absence from FUMCPA, working in Barbados, where he continued his tasks in the Adobe Type Department and served as Honorary Assistant Organist at St. Michael’s Cathedral (Anglican) in Bridgetown, Barabados.