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Delmer (Del) Oeltjen

December 25, 1925 - December 19, 2017

Del was born in Potter, Nebraska to Tony and Bessie Slama Oeltjen where he became an all-around athlete, playing semi-professional baseball in Wyoming.
He lived through the difficult Depression-era helping his family eke out a living. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy on board the USS Saratoga where he served as a Radio Man First Class. He was part of the sea battles at Midway and in the Coral Sea; ultimately providing support for the marines at Okinawa.
He met the love of his life, Phyllis Hope, at a roller skating rink in Seattle while on leave from the Bremerton Naval Base. She was one of Rosie’s Riveters putting together Flying Fortresses at the Boeing Plant in South Seattle. They married January 14, 1946.  Del’s instructions for his will culminated in the last handwritten words “I Love You, Phyl!”
After discharge from the Navy, Del attended the University of Washington where he studied mechanical engineering, eventually becoming a diesel mechanic at King County Shops in Enumclaw. This gave him the expertise to become a most influential member of the State Farm Auto Insurance Company working in the Claims Department in Seattle. He was later promoted to the position of Superintendent at the Regional Office in Salem, Oregon where he overlooked operations in five northwestern states. Of special note is that he took pride in mentoring and training many women into executive positions at the Company – something very uncommon in the U.S. workforce during the 1960s-1970s. There are still agents and employees who remember him with affection.
Del may have retired from the workplace, but never from life. His retirement was spent travelling to Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska and Sydney, Australia to visit family. He was a Life member of the Elks and a charter member of the Keizer Elks Lodge. Del was a life-long member of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. He had an abiding faith in his Lord, Jesus Christ.
Del is survived by wife Phyllis, brother Vernon, sons  John Oeltjen Carla Sydney, Australia, Jim Oeltjen Debbi Sublimity. Grandchildren Alissa Angelo John, Trent Oeltjen Alyssa, Jared Oeltjen Heather, Layla Oeltjen and five great grandchildren.  Del is proceeded in death by sister Betty Johnson.
Services and burial will be at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland January 2nd at 2pm. Assisting  the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association at or Redeemer Lutheran Church Salem in his memory.

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I was blessed to have 38 years with my grandpa and I know he was one of my biggest fans. He still walks with me each day and is still cheering me on.  He welcomed my husband John as practically one of his own grandchildren when we began dating 23 years ago. I thank god my girls got to know him and vice-versa... 10 years and 7 years... not many great-grandchildren get that long. He showed love for them just as he always showed me. Thank you for the red rose petals Grandpa, and nudging John to notice them that cold breezy day. I know you were sending us a message that you were with us and it warmed my heart on that sad day. I love you.