Raymond Michael Oster
Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend Raymond Michael Oster passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Friday, May 4, he was 73.
Ray was born in Reno, Nevada to Raymond Dorman Oster and Margaret Landers Oster. He always said his father, who served in World War II and was on the Reno Police Department, was his hero. Ray attended St Thomas Grammar School and Manogue High School, he graduated from Reno High School in 1962.
After high school graduation, Ray served six months active duty with U.S. Army Reserve. In 1963, he attended the University of Nevada where he was on the Track Team where he competed in shot put and discus. The story goes that every afternoon he saw a girl, Helen Bell, walking across Mackey Stadium Field to class and threw his discus closer and closer to her trying to work up the courage to run over, pick it up and introduce himself. It never worked, but they were finally introduced by a mutual friend. Ray and Helen were married July 22, 1967. Last summer, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with more than 60 guests and much to Ray’s delight an Irish Band.
In 1968, Ray graduated from the Nevada Highway Patrol Academy number one is his class and was stationed in Carlin, Nevada. Their son Raymond Edward Oster was born while they were stationed in Carlin in 1969. In 1971, he transferred to Reno and taught at the Highway Patrol Academy at Stead Air Force Base. In 1972, Ray made Sergeant at age 26 (the youngest in Patrol history) and was assigned to Carson City where he remained for the rest of his life. Laura Ann Oster was born in Reno in 1973. Just 15 months later, Daniel Patrick Oster was born in Carson City in 1974.
After leaving the Highway Patrol, Ray started a long-distinguished career working for the State of Nevada and as a college instructor/administrator. In 1979, after working for DMV, Ray was hired by Western Nevada Community College to direct the Criminal Justice Department. During that time period, Ray started and instructed the Motorcycle Safety Program. While teaching at WNCC, in 1984, Ray received his Associate of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Thomas A. Edison State College. He always joked it only took him 20 years to graduate from college. In 1988, he was named Chief of the Nevada State Computer Facility, which was his favorite job. In 1991, Ray was named the Chief of the Data Development Section for the Nevada State Welfare Division and retired in 2001.
Throughout his life, Ray’s love of sports and competition was unquestionable. It never entered his mind that he couldn’t achieve what he set out to do. After a heart attack in 1999, Ray took the doctor’s instruction to do more cardio activities as a gateway to years of cycling. Over the next decade, Ray completed the OatBran Ride and rode across the State from South Lake Tahoe to Ely. Not content, Ray set out to ride his bike on every major and minor highway in the State of Nevada. Ray’s athletic accomplishments were diverse from completing a half marathon to weight lifting contests, which led to his career as a strength athlete.
After watching the Hard Rock Drilling contest on Nevada Day, Ray decided to give it a try. Throughout the years, Ray competed in many contests at various mining events throughout the State of Nevada and California, including at Nevada Day and Jim Butler Days.
Ray competed in Senior Track and Field. He had the third longest Shot Put throw in the United States in 2011, at the Senior Track and Field Competition in Palo Alto, California, at age 67.
While attending a Celtic Celebration in Reno, he saw a bunch of men in skirts, throwing large rock and flipping over logs. When he attempted to enter his first contest, Ray wanted to participate in only one event “weight over bar,” but he was told that he had to compete in all eight events and wear a kilt! Subsequently, Ray participated in many Highland Game competitions throughout the United States. He placed third in the Masters World Championships in McPhearson, Kansas, and won the Oregon State Championship in the 50+ age group in Roseburg, Oregon. He set two world records and won the Washington State championship in 2009. His Scottish Games’ career was highlighted when he traveled to Inverness, Scotland and won the Masters Highland Games World Championship while setting two World Records. Despite winning countless competition, a World Championship, and setting many world records (two of which still stand today), Ray’s true reward was meeting his dear friend and fellow Scottish Game contestant, Dennis Morrison. Ray and Dennis spent countless hours preparing for contests and traveling to competitions along with their wives Helen and Toni.
Ray was passionate about researching his Irish roots, and consistent with his love for life, Ray went the extra mile and became an Irish citizen in 2008. He and Helen visited Ireland five times.
Despite his many accomplishments, Ray’s love for family defined him. He always considered raising his three children to become successful happy adults his greatest accomplishment. Ray and the love of his life, Helen, had a truly magical relationship that was an inspiration to all. Ray is also survived by his oldest son, Ray and his wife Humma, daughter Laura, youngest son, Daniel and his wife Suzanne, and five grandchildren Liam, Aden, Zoey, Caleb and Quinn Oster. In addition to numerous other relatives in Reno and Ireland, Ray is also survived by his sister, Margaret Wittenberg; his aunt, Helen Handy; cousins, Tim and wife Carolyn Handy, Michael and wife Debra Handy, Tom and wife Jan Federici, Jim and wife Maria Federici, Terry and John Cramer, Marilyn Fuetsch and Patrick O’Donoghue. Although he stood at 6 feet 5 inches and was a mountain of a man known to all as “Big Ray,” he will be remembered as a gentle giant that touched all he met with his kind soul, sense of humor and passion for life.
Services will be held on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Our Most Holy Redeemer Chapel at Our Mothers of Sorrows Catholic Cemetery, 2700 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV. An Irish Wake will be held at Corrigan’s Bit O’Ireland Pub 1526 S Wells Ave, Reno at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his name to the University of Nevada Athletic Department In memory of Raymond M. Oster, UNR Foundation Inc., Intercollegiate Athletics, Mail Stop 0162, Reno, NV, 89557.