Mass of Christian Burial: will be 11:00 A.M., Monday, May 3, 2004 at the St. Matthews Catholic Church in Gillette, Wyoming
John Chapman Ostlund, 76, died at his home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on April 27, 2004.
John was born September 29, 1927, in Gillette, Wyoming, the second son of Axel William Ostlund and Mary Spence Polly Roberts Ostlund. He graduated from Campbell County High School in 1944 and entered Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. Upon receiving an appointment from US Senator Frank Barrett, he entered the United States Naval academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Graduating in 1949 with his commission as Ensign, USN, he served on the destroyer Meredith in the Mediterranean fleet. Diagnosis of diabetes required his early retirement from the Navy in 1950. During his stay in the St. Albans Naval Hospital on Long Island, New York, he met Ensign Mary Virginia Ryan, of the Navy Nurse Corps. They were married January 13, 1952, in Mount Vernon, New York, and made their home in Gillette, Wyoming.In Gillette, John was involved in many and varied business endeavors with his brother, Axel R. Bob Ostlund. Their activities ranged John Deere farm machinery, plumbing, heating, sheet metal, banking and the construction and operation of motels and restaurants. Interests also included manufacturing, real estate, investments, agri-business and mineral leasing and exploration.
John served as the Campbell County Republican Chairman from 1961 to 1969, then as state committeeman for several years thereafter. In 1969, Governor Stanley K. Hathaway appointed him to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees. During his term the infamous Black Fourteen incident took place and the University developed the Fine Arts Center. In 1973, he was elected to the Wyoming State Senate representing Campbell and Johnson Counties and re-elected in 1976. This was at a time when Wyoming, and particularly Campbell County, were experiencing enormous growth in mineral development. As a result, John enjoyed serving as the chairman of the Mines, Minerals and Industrial Development Committee and was most proud of having been instrumental in the development of the Wyoming Community Development Authority, the Coal Tax for Impact Assistance, and the School Foundation Program for capital facilities. In 1978, he resigned from the Senate and became the Republican nominee for Governor. One civic contribution that brought him immense satisfaction was helping to acquire the land and build the multi-activities center for Campbell County know as Camplex.
In 1984, John and Mary moved to what had been a weekend home for a number years, the historic Remount Ranch, located between Cheyenne and Laramie. They made extensive restorations to the property and hosted many civic, educational and social functions there. In 1985, John lost his eyesight to complications of diabetes. He continued his community service activities including serving on the boards of the Wells Fargo Bank, the Cheyenne United Medical Center Foundation, the Governors Mansion Foundation and the Old West Museum. He was also a member of the Cheyenne Rotary Club, the Cheyenne Young Mens Literary Club and the Wyoming Settings Sons. In 1995, John and Mary sold Remount Ranch, and made their home in Cheyenne.
In 2001, John published Quite a life, his autobiography, which he dedicated to his grandchildren. All proceeds from the sale of the book were donated to the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, New York, the organization from which he obtained his two guide dogs. His most recent dog, Russ, died unexpectedly on March 10, 2004. John enjoyed bringing his guide dogs into elementary classrooms to demonstrate how he and the dogs worked as a team to assist him in his home and in getting to various places around town for his civic and social activities. John also liked to email his grandchildren, exercise, track the stock markets, listen to public radio, attend Naval Academy class reunions, and play the piano.
John is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary, their eight children: Peg Ostlund of Cheyenne, John Ostlund Jr. of Westminster, Colorado; Nancy Essery of San Diego, California; Tom Ostlund of Cheyenne, Karin Ostlund of Denver; Patrick Ostlund of Douglas, Wyoming, Jane Gebhart of Gillette and Scott Ostlund of Gillette. Eight grandchildren; Jason, Jordan, Patrick and Ryan Ostlund, Andrew and Megan Gebhart, Chad Essery, and Michael John Elmore; and brother, Axel R. Bob Ostlund, of Gillette.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Axel and Polly Ostlund.The family asks that in lieu of flowers a contribution to the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc., to honor John would be
Contributions may be sent in care of Schrader Funeral Home, 2323 Carey Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001. Vigil for the deceased will be held Friday, 7:00 p.m., at St. Mary's Cathedral. Funeral Liturgy will be Saturday, 10:30 a.m., at St. Mary's Cathedral.