Robert “Ozzie” Osweiler passed away Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, surrounded by his loving family.
Ozzie was born Sept. 16, 1931, to Raymond and Valeria Osweiler and grew up on the North Side of La Crosse. On May 2, 1951, Ozzie was joined in marriage with Delores Kjos at St. John’s Catholic Church.
Ozzie worked at Trane Company as a general foreman for many years, where he also was a member of the 25-Year Club. After retirement in the late ‘80s, Oz was summoned by Father Bill Matzek, the pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Onalaska, to repair a banister. Little did he know that simple project would put him right back to work as the church and school’s janitor for 13 years, where he was surrounded by children who proudly called him “Mr. Ozzie.” They brought him so much happiness, as did he to them with the little treats he would hand out from his pickup truck when the kids were out on the playground. Many students still recall their fondest memories of Mr. Ozzie being the green anise suckers he would hand out each year on St. Patrick’s Day and the artwork and cartoons so many of them had the privilege of having drawn on their hands or notebooks.
Oz could fix anything, build anything and draw anything. Give him a napkin and a pen, and every waitress had a little something special waiting for them after he left the table. Throwing away a broken toy was not an option for his grandchildren because “Grandpa can fix it!” And man, could he build! In 1959, he broke ground and built the house that is considered home to his wife, five daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. He took pride in what he built and his wish was to live there until the day he died — and his wish came true.
He is survived by his beautiful and devoted wife, whom he lovingly called Twin; his brother, Ron “Nig” Osweiler; daughters, Nancy “Fluff” (Pete) Schreier, Paula (Dennis) Baus, Patty Osweiler, Terri (Dick) Roberts and Amy (Kermit) Murray. These children brought him 20 grandchildren: Matt, Phillip, Susan, Paul, Kaati, Kyle, Kelly, Phil, Kevin, David, Keith, Chrissa, Cherish, Antonio, Addie, Dana, Luke, Dianne, Alyssa and Nicholas; and 10 great-grandchildren: Noah, Aslin, Angel, Reagan, MacKenzie, Lily, Melanie, Christopher, Blake and Asia. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Marilyn Osweiler, Dorothy (Clayton “Driz”) Every, Beverly Davis (Larry Balfany) and Audrey (Bing) Wedwick; brother-in-law, Vernon Kjos; as well as many nieces and nephews. He will be sadly missed by his “inherited” children, Cathy Gordon, Darrell Christianson, Craig Newsome and Bill Huiss, who all played a very special part in Ozzie’s life. Oz was preceded in death by his parents, along with his sister, Rita Fried, and brothers, Raymond Jr. and Rich Osweiler.
The Osweiler family sends their utmost appreciation to Dr. John Farnen and all the staff at Gundersen Health System who played a role in our father’s treatment and care over the past six years. We will be forever grateful to the staff of Gundersen Hospice team and the Wisconsin Cares team for providing our father with the gentle care and the respect he so much deserved.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Onalaska. Msgr. Steven Kachel will officiate. Burial will follow in the Onalaska City Cemetery. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, with a rosary beginning at 4 p.m., and again from 9:30 a.m. until time of service Thursday, both at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of Onalaska is assisting the family. Online condolences may be submitted at www.schumacher-kish.com.
“May the winds of love blow softly and whisper so you’ll hear. We will always love and miss you, and wish that you were here.”