Owen “Rocky” Ostrander
May 27, 1926 ‒ November 09, 2015
MANSFIELD: Owen “Rocky” Ostrander, 89, left this earthly life on Monday, November 9, 2015. The youngest of 5 children, Rocky was born at home in Lodi, Ohio to John Ambrose Ostrander and Eva Orwig Sheets Ostrander Gretzinger. Depending on who you ask, family or the United States Navy, he was born on either May 24th or May 27th 1926. He took full advantage of his dual birthday by celebrating on both days. If either birthday landed on or near a weekend, which was more often than not, it became a 4 day celebration with family, friends and neighbors in attendance.
Growing up during the depression, he began contributing to the family income at age 8 by caddying at Round Lake Golf Course in Lakeville, Ohio. Thus began his lifelong love affair with golf. After his family and his dog, a Lhasa Apso named Tasha, playing the game of golf was Rocky’s greatest passion. He was blessed to have played some of the finest golf courses in the USA.
To harness his adolescent energy, he joined the Loudonville high school football and basketball teams. The football team nicknamed him “Rocky” after Knute Rockne, the football player and coach of the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The name stuck with him the rest of his life, but for his parents and siblings he always remained Owen.
Immediately upon graduating from Loudonville High School in May 1944, Rocky entered the US Navy. He was itching to get into World War II as a soldier; he was so worried the war would be over before he could join. He was stationed in Pearl Harbor, servicing navy TBF/TBM torpedo bombers
After his honorable discharge in 1946, he spent 2 years at Ashland College and 2 at Bowling Green University, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.
In 1951 Rocky was in the first training class that certified school teachers as driving instructors in Ohio. He used his training to teach drivers education at Hayesville High School. Rocky loved teaching and coaching, so whenever we passed the Hayesville cemetery he always remembered the students that were laid to rest there. Rocky was a complicated man with a big heart.
In the fall of 1952 Rocky met his beautiful bride, Marjorie Muse, the feisty new English teacher at Hayesville High School. She was engaged at the time, but through his winning personality and charm he won her over and they were married August 1, 1953 at The First Presbyterian Church in Loudonville.
After 3 years of teaching and coaching, Rocky changed careers and worked as a salesman for NCR in Mansfield, Ohio and Pontiac, Michigan. As the years went by, he continued to sell or manage sales departments for different companies. In the early 1980’s he started his own business, Ostrander and Associates, selling educational programs to schools. Rocky ended his career in 1994 at Entised Information Technologies while living in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Upon his wife’s retirement in 1997 they moved back to Mansfield to be closer to their extended family. While living in Mansfield he and his wife were active members of The First Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Mansfield.
During his long life, Rocky was fortunate enough to meet and shake hands with inspirational and famous people; Helen Keller, Orville Wright, Charles Kettering, Louis Bromfield, Boston Bruins hockey player Bobby Orr, the original daredevil Evel Knieval and Margaret Thatcher, to name just a few.
Left to cherish his memory are his daughter and only child Jaimie Kunecke, son-in- law Bill Kunecke, his beloved grandchildren Will and Forest Kunecke , his sister Imogene Coffey, his sister-in-law Sue Bauer, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Frank and Norma Muse, and his “other” daughter Melanie Shoup, along with 9 nieces and 4 nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was proceeded in death by his wife Marjorie on August 28 2004, his eldest sister, Dorothy Louise Ostrander in 1929, his 2 brothers and their spouses; Jack and Marjorie Ostrander and Edward and Thelma Sheets, as well as his 3 brothers-in-law; Robert Coffey, Keith Muse, and Fred Bauer.
Our family wishes to thank ALL the wonderful people who work behind the scenes and directly with the residents at The Good Shepherd. The kindness, love and excellent care they gave Rocky and the support they offered our family will never be forgotten: they are angels on earth. Samaritan Hospital and their staff are simply the best. We also wish to thank Hospice of North Central Ohio for easing Rocky’s way into heaven and Jim Constance from The First Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Mansfield for his many visits to Rocky at home, hospitals and to The Good Shepherd. Finally, a special thank you to J.B. Love, and the Snyder family, of Snyder Funeral Homes for their excellent support and advice.
Calling hours will be held Saturday, November 14, 2015 from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. in the Marion Avenue Snyder Funeral Home, 350 Marion Avenue, where funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Rocky’s daughter, Jaimie Kunecke will officiate. Full military honors performed by the Richland County Joint Veterans Burial Detail will immediately follow at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contribution to The Good Shepherd Home or Hospice of North Central Ohio may be made through the funeral home.
Online condolences to Rocky’s family may be made by visiting:www.snyderfuneralhomes.com