Tuesday, January 20, 2009

my grandfather

Business owner, volunteer fire official dies
January 20, 2009
BY WILLIAM LEE, Staff writer
John D. Oudsteyn, a former Chicago Ridge fire official who helped start the village's volunteer fire department in the 1950s, died suddenly Sunday at his home. He was 89.
Mr. Oudsteyn and his wife, Harriet, moved to Chicago Ridge about 1950, when the village had about 600 residents. For 14 years, Mr. Oudsteyn answered fire calls from his home, racing to a large black telephone hanging from his kitchen wall. Mr. Oudsteyn was named assistant fire chief in 1974.
His wife also was dedicated to public safety, working for the Chicago Ridge Police Department for 35 years and serving as secretary under four police chiefs.
In addition to his work with the fire department, Mr. Oudsteyn was self-employed for many years, installing and repairing wells.
He and several partners purchased All Electric, which sold and serviced pumps and still exists at the same site, 67th Street and Ashland Avenue in Chicago. They opened a second business, Accurate Electric, which remains on 111th Street in Worth.
Mr. Oudsteyn was proud of his service during World War II, for which he received a Purple Heart medal. He fought the Japanese at Okinawa from April through June in 1945. A member of the 1st Battalion, 29th Marines, 6th Marine Division, he also participated in the occupation of China during November 1946.
Born Oct. 24, 1919, in Chicago, Mr. Oudsteyn grew up during the Great Depression, which his family said made him frugal.
"Growing up, my cousins and I were always somewhat both amazed and amused by the shelves in the basement filled with enough food and supplies that it resembled a store," SouthtownStar correspondent Gina Kenny said of her grandfather.
"He faced a lot of challenges during his life - financial as well as physical. He never quit trying," his daughter, Harriet Lynn Welch, said. "Every challenge life threw at him, he kept going."
Mr. Oudsteyn met his wife at a Halloween party, and they were married on Jan. 14, 1939. They were married for 67 years before her death in April 2006.
The couple's love and devotion to each other always was an inspiration to their family and friends. They traveled extensively in the United States, usually in a motor home, and around the world, including China and Australia.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Oudsteyn is survived by a son, John; a sister, Ruth Sorgenfry; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Schmaedeke Funeral Home, 10701 Harlem Ave., Worth. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Chapel Hill Gardens South Cemetery in Worth.
William Lee can be reached at wlee@southtownstar.com or (708) 633-6747.

1 comment:

BBVP said...

Gina and Tom- I am sorry for your loss, but especially sorry that Christopher lost his biggest fan. Be well and take of your family.-Damon