Clarence Oestreich, 103 year old Grove resident, went home to his Lord and Savior on July 11, 2022. Clarence was born in 1918 in Linn, Kansas and grew up on a farm prior to his service and ran his family’s farm after leaving school. Born during WWI, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, and experienced the Great Depression era in the 1930’s. In 1942, he joined the Army, serving as a tank mechanic with the 808 Tank Destroyer Battalion attached to the Third Army Division under General George Patton. Of five paternal first cousins who went to war, only Clarence and one other returned home. He entered the military at Fort Leavenworth, went to Fort Sill and to Camp Robinson with a return to Kansas and Wisconsin training locations before departing for the European theater of WWII. During his time in Europe, he was in England, France, Germany Luxembourg, and Austria. He was in combat there from 1944-1945, landing immediately after the troops that secured the Normandy beach, assuring the line established on DDAY could move forward to free occupied Europe. After experiencing war-torn Europe as a soldier, he knew firsthand the meaning of service to his country and the value of freedom. Clarence returned stateside and was discharged at Fort Hood in 1946, returned to Kansas City and throughout his life continued receiving treatment at the VA where he has received most of his healthcare throughout his adult life for disabilities received during his service and subsequent to his service although he never let those diminish his enjoyment of life or impact his personal contributions to his employer and communities.
Post-service he returned to Kansas City and resumed his career with Colgate-Palmolive in Kansas City, where he was known for his experience and dedication to his job. During that time, he married and helped raise 5 step-children. He retired at age 62 due to his wife’s illness. He and his wife moved to Grove, Oklahoma in 1980 to enjoy the lake life for the duration of her cancer which took her life. Both became active in Grove at the Moose Lodge, the American Legion, and many community activities in Grove. After 33 years of marriage to his wife Wilma, Clarence remained in Grove after her death and was a member of the American Legion and was active in his church, Grace Presbyterian. He later met his wife, Jo Ellen, to whom he was married for 30 years until her death in 2015. They resided in Grove for over 3 decades. They traveled the United States extensively with a group of good friends and often wintered in south Texas. They enjoyed many trips with their wide circle of friends through the local Grove travel agency. Clarence stayed active fishing, dancing and supporting the American Legion and his church and participated in many community activities.
Little did he know that he would be retired longer than the substantial span of years he worked for Colgate-Palmolive. Clarence resided at Baptist Village from 2007 to 2021 when he moved to Grandwood Assisted Living. He was still active both at the residential facility and at the American Legion where he regularly attends meetings. He enjoyed life and social activities and supporting his church and community. He was known throughout the community and had his own special table at Cosby’s Catfish in Langley where he enjoyed his favorite food. He danced with another Centenarian during the celebration of his 100th birthday. When he turned 102, the American Legion celebrated him with a parade in Grove which was the largest attendance at an outdoor event in Grove that year. When interviewed by the television station covering his parade, he said, “Everyone should have a parade now and then!”
Clarence’s advice on living a long, full life: “Just keep moving!” That is what he did each and every day.
Memorial services will be 10 a.m., Thursday, September 8, 2022, at Grace Presbyterian Church. Inurnment will follow at Olympus Cemetery. Services are entrusted to Worley Luginbuel Funeral Home.
Memorial donations can be made to: Grace Presbyterian Church of Grove: P.O. Box 450705, Grove, OK 74345 or The American Legion Post #178 of Grove: 114 S. Broadway, Grove, OK 74344.