OBITUARY

Albert Reed Oesterle

March 5, 1919January 10, 2021

Albert Reed Oesterle, born March 5th, 1919 in Joliet, Illinois to Albert Carl and Anna Gertrude (Reed) Oesterle, passed away peacefully at his home in Fort Collins on the evening of January 10th, aged 101.

His lone sibling, a brother, died in infancy, and on the eve of the Great Depression his father passed, leaving ten year old Albert to be raised by his single mother, with the selfless and loving support of relatives and devoted family friends. His childhood shortened by circumstance, Al developed a personal discipline that would become a hallmark of his character. Driven to ease his mother’s burden, he made himself into an honor student and skipped a grade of Junior High School before entering the University of Illinois Dental School in 1938. He was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy (Dental Corps) in June 1941. After service in the Pacific in the Second World War and surviving the sinking of his ship, USS Princeton (CVL-23), he made the Navy his first career.

On September 1st, 1945, two weeks after V-J Day, Al married Joan Gardner Smith at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Chapel. Embarking on a nomadic military life, Al and Joan lived from Key West to California, Chicago to both Carolinas, and Virginia to Cuba, along the way becoming parents to three daughters and, at long last, a son. Captain A.R. Oesterle retired from the Navy in 1965. A humble man by nature, he left it for his family to be exceedingly proud of his service to our nation. His awards include the Bronze Star (with Valor) and the Purple Heart.

In 1962, with his wife Joan, daughters Lane, Jill, and Lynn, son Carl, Dachshund Schnapps, and parakeet WestKey packed into their Chevy Impala station wagon, the family spent its final military move criss-crossing America scouting locations to establish a permanent home. At a filling station in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, an attendant said to Al, “You might oughta take a look at Fort Collins. Nice little town.” And so it came to pass that Dr. A. R. Oesterle, ably assisted by Joan, opened Fort Collins’ first Oral Surgery practice, which he maintained with the dedicated focus borne of his childhood experience, until his retirement in 1990.

When he wasn’t serving generations of northern Coloradoans, Al was cultivating genuine and lasting friendships, building a reputation of integrity and honor, and creating an utterly amazing life for the people he loved.

Al will be remembered for a steadfast love for his family and for America, a general disdain for bird feeder-robbing squirrels and improper grammar, his sublime touch on the putting green, and an unexpectedly sly sense of humor. He was decidedly not a fan of men wearing hats indoors. As a beekeeper he kept the family supplied with honey and, in homage to his father’s occupation, he crafted fine jewelry for his wife and daughters. A dedicated gardener, he grew gooseberries, raspberries and currants which he then turned into exceptional pies, preserves and jelly. To him, the cantaloupes he nurtured all summer were the size of basketballs and took days to eat. In reality, they were closer to softballs and vanished in a few bites. He valued loyalty and, despite growing up an hour from Chicago, was a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan because of two men: Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst. His long life was fortified by a steady diet of puffed rice for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch chased by two Oreos and, most importantly, two more after dinner. He was made of the stuff that seems not so common anymore, but which he passed to his family, and which is fundamental.

Albert Reed Oesterle is preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Joan (Smith) Oesterle of Fall River, MA. He is survived by his daughters Lane (Eric) Miller of Berthoud, Jill (Steve) Hultin and Lynn (Craig) Oesterle-Zollner of Fort Collins, his son Carl (Kerry) of Edmond, OK, six beloved grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and his loving companion of 18 years, Phyl Nichols of Fort Collins.

The family would like to extend its profound gratitude to Live Love Laugh Homecare of Fort Collins for helping us make Al’s last years comfortable, happy, and filled with laughter and light.

A local memorial service is pending. His remains will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery, alongside those of his wife.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his honor to Smile Train (www.smiletrain.org) or Larimer County Pathways Care (https://pathways-care.org/pathways-larimer-county/)

We will miss you, our darling Dad and Boppie.

Memories

Albert Reed Oesterle

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Brian Gallagher

January 19, 2021

What a tribute to an obviously great man. I had to read it twice and then shared it with my father.

Well done OYSTER.

V/R
CLAM

Jana McDowell

January 19, 2021

My best heart felt sincerity’ to the Oesterle family, Al will be missed by so many.
I will always cherish the memories of my time with Al, and his family.
I love you all
Jana McDowell

Robert Ellis

January 18, 2021

Al was a true professional with an appropriate sense of humor. He was a friend of the family and served two of my children's painless dental extraction so efficiently I hardly had time to pick out a magazine in the waiting room when he came out and said he had accomplished the task and I could take the patient home. Al and his wife were two very intelligent and generous people of strong character and will be missed by their many friends.
Bob and Grace Ellis

Steve Young

January 17, 2021

The Buckley AFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for CAPT Oesterle's distinguished service to our country in the Navy. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley AFB at 720-847-6693. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

Steve Young
Lt Col, USAF, Ret
Director, Buckley AFB RAO

Steve Young

January 17, 2021

The Buckley AFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for CAPT Oesterle's distinguished service to our country in the Navy. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley AFB at 720-847-6693. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

Steve Young
Lt Col, USAF, Ret
Director, Buckley AFB RAO

Lorraine Aragon

January 17, 2021

To the Oesterle children:

I just read about the passing of your father and would like to extend my deepest condolences. As you may remember I worked for your parents for many years as your house keeper. They were very kind to me as well as all of you kids were. I am so sorry for your loss and pray that God carry all of you through this difficult time. May he rest in peace.

Molly Aragon and family
Ft. Collins

Julia Muniz Koepsell

January 17, 2021

Lynn and Family,
I just read of your fathers passing and I am so sorry for your loss.
He was a good man and was always trying to fit in a joke when he was working on my teeth. He asked me about how I knew Lynn and I said I went to school with her. His comment after that was, oh I bet you have some stories! I pleaded the 5th. When he was done working on me, I asked if I said anything while I was under and his comment, I'll never tell!
His was a good man and loved his family and I'm sure he will be missed. Hold on to all those precious memories that you had and he will be in your heart forever,
Love and Hugs, Julia Muniz Koepsell

Patricia Larkin

January 17, 2021

Captain “O”, which is what we called him, was our neighbor. With his sports car and his infectious laughter, even as a middle school I thought he was cool. I lived in his house almost as much as my own. Jill and I were best friends. Both of her parents treated me as a member of the family through girl antics, sleep overs, and hours of giggles. Over 50 years later when I visited him in Colorado, it was like no time had passed. Though he will be missed, I know he is now reunited with Joan. My family is so sorry for your loss.

Katrina White-Graydon

January 17, 2021

Dear Lynn,
I had the pleasure of being your English teacher at FCHS in my early teaching days. You made such a strong impression on me because of your vitality, your insight, and exceptional character. I can still visualize you adding so much to our discussions and your lively interaction with others. Without knowing your parents, it is clear to me that you were and are a wonderful testament to their parenting. They created the family that has thrived all these years. I extend to you and your family my condolences as you cherish your father's memory.
Lovingly,
Katrina White Graydon

Wendy Valentine

January 17, 2021

Al Oesterle was my uncle, married to my mother's sister. We lived in different parts of the country so saw each other infrequently. But in the 1990s, my husband (a lifelong history buff), decided to travel to Harden, MT for the Custer Re-enactment. Uncle Al agreed to join him, and they went on a road trip together from Ft. Collins to Harden. On the way, Uncle Al took Drew to the site of the Fetterman Massacre, then they stayed in a $25/night motel in Sheridan with other men headed to the re-enactment! They had dinner with a relative of Sitting Bull that night, and Uncle Al bonded, not only with my husband, but with the other "troopers"! After spending several days together, the bond deepened and Al and Drew became fast friends!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY