Tatiana (Tania) Marie Granoff

January 19, 1952 - July 12, 2023

Tatiana (Tania) Marie Granoff was born on January 19, 1952 in Burbank, California. She passed away on July 12, 2023 at her home in Los Altos, California, where she lived almost her entire adult life.

Tatiana’s father was Jack Granoff, an immigrant from Odessa, Ukraine. His stories of growing up in Odessa during WW1 and the Bolshevik Revolution, and his later travels in Mexico and Canada, eventually settling in Carmel Valley, led to a lifelong interest in how immigrants to the US adapted to and helped shape American society. Jack met Tatiana’s mother, Elizabeth Marsh, when he lived in Los Angeles. Elizabeth was a Californian who grew up in Los Angeles

Tatiana’s early years were peripatetic. Her first few years were in LA. The family then moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, followed by a couple of years in Mexico City. In 1956 they moved to Carmel Valley, California, where Tania spent the rest of her youth. Her passions, even then, were reading, friends, and folk dancing.

At Stanford she majored in History, with a focus on the history of children’s literature. She met her husband, Robert Olson, at Stanford. They married at her parents’ home in Carmel Valley in 1977. She later said that she was quite surprised to find herself marrying a non-Jew and engineer who grew up in Texas, but 47 years later she was still pleased with her choice.

Tatiana’s professional career at Stanford involved student services in several different areas. She loved working with students at all stages of their Stanford lives, and they returned the love. After her second child was born, she decided to be a full-time mom, but then got involved with PTA at both the elementary and middle school levels, serving as President multiple times.

In 2000, she commenced 17 satisfying years as the librarian at Santa Rita Elementary School in Los Altos. Santa Rita has a very diverse population, serving many immigrant families, so she was able to combine her passion for children’s literature, her love for students, and her interest in immigrant lives. It was the perfect job for her.

Tatiana had many interests outside her career. She had a lifelong hobby of reading book reviews and making thoughtful book recommendations to friends and family.  She was active with several book clubs, traveled extensively with her husband in the US and Europe, purchased every book she could find on Mediterranean cooking, served as librarian at Congregation Etz Chayim, and still found time for long conversations with a huge group of friends as well as service at her synagogue.

Tatiana made friends easily because she was genuinely interested in their stories and lives. She remembered details, and conversations continued across decades and continents. She was the hub around which many clouds of friends and family revolved. In her career in student services at Stanford, her subsequent career as a children’s librarian, and her service to others, she touched the lives of tens of thousands of people, is remembered by thousands, and enjoyed hundreds of close friendships. That is a legacy that most of us can only aspire to.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Olson, son Aaron Olson (m. Rachel Gelb), daughter Elspeth Olson, granddaughters Sophie and Eloise Gelb-Olson, brothers Peter and Greg (Mary) Granoff, and sister Natasha Granoff.

If you wish to donate in her honor, her choice would be a nonprofit in your community which promotes childhood literacy.

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