John A. Osterhoudt, age 89, of Third Street, Westfield, died Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the home of his daughter in Westfield following an extended illness.
John was born on November 16, 1924, in Cooperstown, NY, the son of the late Maurice C. and M. Catherine (Hopkins) Osterhoudt. He attended the Phoenix Mills (NY) one-room schoolhouse in grade school and graduated from Cooperstown High School with a Regents Diploma in June 1941.
After a year at the Excelsior School of Business in Utica, NY, in March of 1943 Mr. Osterhoudt was drafted by the Army Air Force. He attended radio operator-mechanic school at Scott Field, IL, and gunnery school at Tyndall Field, FL. He was then assigned to B-24 Liberator training at El Paso, TX, where he was part of the test group for the development of Dramamine. After joining a B-29 Superfortress unit with the 505th Bombardment Group at Harvard, NE, he left Seattle, WA, on November 16, 1943, and arrived on Tinian Island, Marianas Group, in the Pacific Theater of Operations on Christmas Eve. He was on duty when the Morse Code message was received that the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. He was awarded the American Service, Asiatic Pacific Service, Good Conduct, World War II Victory, and National Service Defense medals during his active duty tours. He was discharged from service in WWII on December 28, 1945, having attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.
John A. Osterhoudt
He received an Associate of Arts degree from one of the emergency colleges created at the end of World War II in Utica, NY, before transferring to Hartwick College in June 1950 from where he earned a B.S. degree in business subjects. He was awarded a MBA degree in Marketing from Syracuse University in January, 1959, and remained a lifelong fan of the Orange.
Mr. Osterhoudt joined the Air Force Reserve in March, 1950, and received a direct commission as First Lieutenant on April 21, 1958, at Oneonta, NY, while he was attending Hartwick College. He later served as Supply Officer at Niagara Falls Air Force Base and retired as Major on November 16, 1984, after 24 years of total service. He was recalled to active duty twice: One year during the Korean Conflict in 1950- 1951 at Chanute Field, IL, and one month during the Cuban Crisis at Niagara Falls AFB in October, 1961.
John began his teaching career in Mexico, NY, and then taught at Fayetteville-Manlius High School for four years. He moved to Westfield in 1957 to raise his family, and he taught business subjects at the Westfield Academy and Central School high school from 1957 until his retirement in 1982. During his tenure at Westfield Central School he served as President of the Westfield Teachers Association, President of the Chautauqua County Teachers Association, and Secretary of the Western Zone State Teachers Association. He was involved in many student activities, directed the student-run bookstore, and chaperoned many events including the 1959 class trip to Washington, DC. He was head baseball coach at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, and a golf and bowling coach for several years at Westfield Central School. In addition to teaching, after a year's internship doing income tax preparation with Alan Kolpien, he worked as an independent tax preparer for several years.
During retirement, John spent his winter months in Zephyrhills, FL, in one of the 150 mobile home parks in the city. While in Zephyrhills he served as Site Coordinator of the AARP's Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. He also worked 10 years as a part-time sales clerk at Walgreens Pharmacy. Mr. Osterhoudt and his wife, Dorothea, traveled extensively having visited every state in the United States including Hawaii and Alaska, as well as having toured Holland, Germany and Austria. In Holland they visited WWII battle sites near Nijmegen where his brother Lincoln had been killed defending a bridge over the Rhine River as a member of the 82nd Airborne Infantry.
In Westfield, John has been a member of Masonic Lodge 219, the Westfield Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 118, the First Presbyterian Church of Westfield, The John W. Rogers Post 327 of the American Legion and the Mayville VFW Post 8647. He is a Life Member of the U.S. Air Force Retired Officers Association. An avid golfer, John scheduled retiree golf outings to area courses during the summer months, and often wrote colorful retiree golf reports for The Westfield Republican. He enjoyed gardening, and barbecues, on the "farm" at his home in Westfield.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothea (Mathewson) Osterhoudt whom he married on July 6, 1947, and who died on November 20, 1997; his daughter Karen Hall who died in 1998; his brothers Lincoln and Ralph Osterhoudt; and by his two sisters, Helen Baxter and Louise Osterhoudt. In 2000 until her passing, John shared a loving companionship with Gloria Pickard, of Zephyrhills and Parma, OH. John is survived by his daughter Kathleen (Q.G.) Best of Westfield; his son Dr. Kevin (Kathleen) Osterhoudt of Radnor, PA; his five grandchildren, Matt and Tim Best, and Connor, Ryan, and Aidan John Osterhoudt; and his one great-grandchild, Blythe Petit. He is further survived by his brothers Homer (Marion) Osterhoudt of Cooperstown, NY, and Howard (Nola) Osterhoudt of Sharon Springs, NY.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 11:00 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church of Westfield, 49 South Portage St., Westfield, NY, 14787, with Rev. Dana Vaughn officiating. Military Honors will be offered following the service.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donation to the building restoration fund of the church (www.westfieldpc.org/).
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the MASON Funeral Home, 37 Clinton St., Westfield, NY 14787. Log on to www.masonfuneral.com to send the Osterhoudt family a message of sympathy or to light a Memorial Candle or for further information.