Obert Martin Osmundson Sr. spent 94 years on this earth and like most 90-something’s, he wore many different hats over the span of his life.
As many would expect, his first hat was probably a baby bonnet that his parents George and Olga (Haugen) Osmundson put on his head when he was born August 15, 1928 in Marshall County, South Dakota. His brother Bernard, his only sibling, arrived a year later. Obert’s family proudly celebrated their Norwegian heritage as both sets of his grandparents immigrated from Norway in the late 1880’s. His paternal grandfather was often a financial sponsor of many friends and family to immigrate from Norway to the United States.
Another hat he wore was his US Marine Corp “cover” which he wore when he enlisted at the age of 17, just after WWII ended. He was deployed to China, working as an administration clerk. He was extremely proud of his military service and spoke of his time in China often.
Of course, he did enjoy a fancy hat now and again, which he probably wore on his way to a dance in Hill Head, South Dakota where he met a young lady named Deloris Kaatz. One spin around the dance floor and the rest is history. They married on April 11, 1949.
From there, he and Deloris hit the road. Literally. Moving to several small cities and townships across North and South Dakota, Obert co-owned a road construction business. Wearing a hard hat, his crew built many of the roads cutting through the Badlands of North and South Dakota which are still in use today.
After 25 years, he retired from the road construction business. Trading in his hard hat for a cowboy hat, he bought Geneva Livestock Exchange in 1970. “The Sale Barn” (as his 5 kids and 9 grandkids called it) was a family affair. His kids (and even a few of the grandkids) learned how to clerk an auction sale, weigh livestock, muck out pens, and help cash out someone’s earnings. A well-known & respected businessman in Geneva, he enjoyed making connections in the community and surrounding areas. That connection was easy to see on many warm, summer nights as The Sale Barn was a packed house, often standing room only.
After Deloris’ passing in 1996, Obert hung up that cowboy hat, selling The Sale Barn and retiring for good. He enjoyed tossing on one of his many ball caps that advertised places he’d traveled as he attended a concert, play, 4-H project presentation, or graduation ceremony for one of his grandkids. One of his favorites was a hat from Norway that he got while on a “bucket list” trip in 2011 with his very special friend, Lois Crabtree.
However, wearing many hats can exhaust even the best of us. After 94 years, on April 23, 2023, his body knew the hats he loved the most: “dad”, “grandpa”, “great grandpa”, “friend”, and “companion” needed to go back on the shelf as his time with us had come to a close.
He is survived by his special friend of 14 years, Lois Crabtree; his 5 children: Joy McClure, Hamilton, MT; Obert “OB” (Karen) Osmundson Jr, Ellendale, MN; Wayne (Shelly Saltou) Osmundson, Glenville, MN; Julie (John) Summy, Owatonna, MN; and Jane (Mark) Bernier, Scandina, MN; his 9 grandchildren Kelley (Andy) Mork, Robert Osmundson, Jennie (Ted) Carter-Broske, Stacy (Jason) Stenzel, Karla (Steve) Dausey, Tim (Rebecca) Summy, Leah Elizabeth Nava, Spencer (Brett) Stenersen, and Savanna Wangen; and 7 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his son-in-law Gary Hettrick of Hamilton, MT; his wife, Deloris; his brother and his parents.
A service to celebrate Obert’s life will be held at Bayview Funeral Home, Albert Lea, Minnesota on Friday, April 28, 2023 at 9:00am. Pastor Don Malinsky will officiate. Interment will follow immediately after the service at the cemetery in Geneva, Minnesota where he will be laid to rest next to his wife Deloris. Full military honors will also be presented at the cemetery.
The family would like to thank the staff of The Brooks for their support and care of Obert over the last 4 years, and Benedictine Hospice for the loving care provided over his last days. We are grateful for your generosity, compassion, and understanding.