Robert F. Oldenburg, of Lewistown, Mont., affectionately known as Gramps, Mr. Bob, and Coach, died peacefully of natural causes at the age of 90 in the Central Montana Skilled Nursing Center March 7, 2013.Published March 14, 2013
A celebration of Gramps’ life, well lived, was held at Zion Lutheran Church in Lewistown, March 14. Cremation has taken place.
Gramps was born Nov. 28, 1922, in New England, N.D. to Robert and Louise Oldenburg. He had two brothers and two sisters. Gramps learned the lessons of hard work and family dedication when he had to leave college for a period to run the family farming operation due to his father’s illness. That began a life-long habit of working hard, helping others, and always doing things right.
Gramps was very proud of his Navy service during World War II. He served in the South Pacific and was honorably discharged in June of 1946. He was married to the love of his life, Lena Tarpo, Nov. 25, 1950, in New England. They have been devoted to each other ever since.
Gramps’ life was dedicated to education and coaching. He received his high school education in New England where his love of sports was groomed. He graduated from what is now Dickinson State with academic honors and was homecoming king and captain of the basketball team. He received his Masters from Northern Colorado with Special Academic Honors and continued his studies throughout his career at MSU-Billings and U of M.
Gramps taught for 32 years, mostly in the Lewistown Junior High. He had a goal of coaching in four decades, and so after retirement as an active teacher, he joined the Fergus High Golf program as an assistant. He exceeded his goal as he decided to coach until the last of his grandsons had graduated and played golf, giving him part of five decades. Coach was a tough disciplinarian, worked hard at his craft, and expected the same from his students and athletes. There are thousands of students that benefitted from his teaching and coaching, many of whom consider him as a father figure or mentor. As great of a teacher and coach as he was, he was an even better husband, father and a superb grandfather.
He is survived by his loving wife, Lena, of Lewistown, Mont.; his sons, Bob (Glenda) of Helena, Mont., Jon (Diane) of Lewistown, Mont. and Tom (Ruth) of Redmond Wash.; five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Gramps was preceded in death by his mother and father and brothers and sisters.
Memorials may be made to the Central Montana Skilled Nursing Center or Hospice of Central Montana and may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home.