Oscar Fred Oerly
Oscar Fred Oerly
  • December 7, 1922 - February 10, 2015
  • Boonville, Missouri

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Oscar Fred Oerly passed away peacefully at his home on February 10, 2015 at the age of 92.

Fred began his life on December 7, 1922, in Overton, Missouri, as the son of a local store owner. Fred’s experiences there inexorably shaped his development as well as many of his future life decisions. Fred treasured Mid-Missouri, deciding to spend nearly all his life living and working in Boonville. As a young man, Fred was thrust into World War II at age 20. Along with his older brother, Fred served in the Marines in the Pacific Theater during the war. He served his country on the beaches of Okinawa, Bougainville, as well as Guadalcanal. He returned home for Thanksgiving 1945 and married Jan (Zula) Smith on Christmas. After a brief time living and working in Los Angeles, Fred retuned to Mid-Missouri where he became a lifetime member of the Brick Layers Union. Many buildings and fireplaces across central Missouri are testament to his skill and hard work. Among his many endeavors, Fred was especially proud of his success in integrating the Boy Scout troop he led.

After retiring in 1987, Fred authored two books, one focused on his life in Overton, Missouri, and the other, '38 Pieces of Shrapnel,' focused on his experiences as a Marine.

Fred was thrilled by his Honor Flight in 2010 and spent most of the next two years carving 112 cardinals as gifts to the numerous volunteers who help veterans travel to see their memorials in Washington, D.C. For the last four decades, Fred was a prolific wood carver who made hundreds of carvings, crafting dozens of different species of mammals, fish and birds. This passion reflected his love of the outdoors. Fred enjoyed sharing his passion of hunting and fishing with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Fred was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Jan Oerly, in 2001, and by his son Dennis Oerly in 2005. His sisters, Marie and Hazel, as well as his bother Sam also preceded him in death.

Fred is survived by his two daughters, Donavan Davis and Diane Oerly; his daughter-in-law, Karen Oerly; several nieces and nephews; seven grandchildren, Christopher (Debbie) Oerly, Greg (Liz) Gammage, Sam (Tess) Oerly, Matt (Brandi) Oerly, Wes Oerly, Adriana (Louie) Nieman, and Mitchell Hughey; and a growing number of great-grandchildren.

Fred was an active and hard-working member of the Evangelical United Church of Christ. While flowers are welcome, please consider instead a donation to the Evangelical UCC Church, or the Central Missouri Honor Flight. The visitation will be at Boonville’s William Woods Funeral Home from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, February 13th. Services will be at the Evangelical UCC Church in Boonville on Saturday, February 14th at 1 p.m. and burial beside Jan and Dennis at Walnut Grove Cemetery.