Academic journal

Oscar Stradinger Obituary (2021) – Rapid City, SD


Oscar stradinger

Rapid City – Oscar Stradinger was born on May 7, 1919 in Isabel, South Dakota. His parents and grandparents were part of the latest wave of Russian / German immigration to the Dakotas …… people who were recruited by the US rail industry …. choosing to farm and ranch in a climate similar to the one they endured in Besarabia, Russia.

Oscar, the oldest of 3 boys, grew up in the harsh environment of the West River area of ​​northern South Dakota. He worked on the family farm / ranch and rode horses to and from school. This was not unusual since the agricultural economy of that time relied on some mechanization but also horse-drawn equipment from the 1920s. The family endured the ups and downs of farming existence and lost their first farm. after 2 successive years of poor harvests in the early depression years of the 1930s. After renting a temporary farm in Dupree, South Dakota, Oscar’s family recovered in Isabel and continued there for three decades additional fruitful agriculture and animal husbandry.

Oscar was a bright and attentive high school student and was able to secure a freshman position at Yankton College in Southeast South Dakota after graduating from high school in 1937. Despite the often conflicting demands of his progressing through university, he was a member of the debate team and was elected president of the student body. While in college, he met his wife, Mavis Clark, starting a relationship that lasted until his death more than 72 years later.

After graduating from college in 1941, Oscar was called up for the first draft of WWII. He spent four years in the US Army. Growing up speaking German and taking the language in college, he was naturally deployed to the European theater, served as a staff officer in the counterintelligence corps, and was attached to the commandments of military luminaries. such as George Patton, Omar Bradley and Teddy. Roosevelt Jr. His period of service included England, North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He received a second lieutenant battlefield commission and the Bronze Star for bravery as US troops fought in the North African campaign against the Germans under the command of Erwin Rommel.

In 1944, he returned to the United States and married Mavis Clark. They had three children, Marilee (born 1946) David, born 1947 and Linda, born 1948. After his release from the military as a first lieutenant in 1945, he decided to pursue an academic career and attended the University of Chicago where he obtained his master’s degree and all coursework for a doctorate in public administration. He then became a professor at Whittier College in California, then at the University of South Dakota.

An offer to work with the Atomic Energy Commission shifted his focus from academia to government where he completed 30 years of service first in uranium exploration in Colorado and finally in the capital of the United States. in Washington, DC where he represented nuclear energy interests for the US Department of Energy in Congress. Upon his retirement from government, he received the Distinguished Career Service Award for his achievements in public service.

While in Washington, he continued his career in the military reserve, retiring as a major in the Air Force.

In 1989, Oscar and his wife, Mavis, decided to leave the traffic and bustle of Washington and return to South Dakota where they made their home in Rapid City. He has been an active Kiwanian and a devoted lay member of the Rapid City Congregational United Church of Christ.

Oscar is survived by his two married children, David and Linda (Barker), four married grandchildren: Aimee, Shane, Stefanie and Saxby … and 6 great grandchildren: Emilie, Frederick, Ridge, Charlotte, Nash and Isabel.

A small family reunion will be held in Isabel, SD at a later date. Arrangements with Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home.

Published by Rapid City Journal on October 5, 2021.


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