James Richard Oesterreich

James Richard Oesterreich

November 13, 1949 - February 11, 2023

James (Jim) Richard Oesterreich, passed away on February 11, 2023 at the age of 73 in Topeka KS.

Jim was born on Sunday November 13, 1949 to Delbert and Maxine (Kind) in Junction City, Kansas. He grew up on the family farm outside of Woodbine, where both his dad and grandfather, Clifton were raised. He was the 4th generation of Oesterreichs to be born in the United States. He was the oldest of his two siblings: a brother, John, and a sister, Teresa (Terri). Some of his fond childhood memories included hiking along Lyons Creek (which ran through the family property), riding horses, and shooting “.22s” with his brother. Jim completed all his elementary schooling at the Woodbine School and then attended Dickinson County Community High School in Chapman, graduating in 1967.

In 1971, Jim graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, KS with a degree in Analytical Chemistry. On April 17, 1971 he married Sharmelle Burkle, with whom he had three sons: Phillip, Timothy, and Samuel. In the fall of 1973 they moved from Salina to Colby, where he lived the majority of his adult life. During this time, Jim joined the Army Reserves and retire after 23 years of service.

In January 1982, Jim and Sharmelle separated through divorce. Jim continued to focus on his career and being a father to his three sons. One memorable event Jim had during this time was when he embarked on a journey with two of his close friends. Despite the wind, rain, snow, and lightning, Jim successfully summited Longs Peak (a mountain in Colorado of which only 50% of those who attempt are successful, even less so on the day of his summit). 

Jim met Deanna Heaton through a singles Bible study group at his church. They were united in marriage on February 22,1985. Deanna brought her daughter Heather into the family and later added three new children to the family: Jedediah, Matthew, and Sarah. They continued living in Colby while raising a family that now consisted of seven kids combined. Jim worked for the City of Colby operating its Waste Water Treatment Plant. He also did some part-time teaching for Colby Community College, Heartland Christian School, and was a school bus driver for Colby Public School.

During the last year of his life, Jim moved to Topeka, KS, to be closer to his kids and grandchildren, and have easier access to medical care. It was there that he passed on and went to be with Jesus.

Jim lived a life of sacrifice, doing what needed to be done to provide for his family. He loved going on adventures with his family, which involved taking family road trips, hiking, and camping. He was a loving man who expressed his love through humor and teasing. He also pursued God and encouraged his children to do the same by following his example. He leaves behind this legacy of adventure, humor, and pursuit of God in his seven surviving children and 13 grandchildren.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife Deanna, father Delbert, mother Maxine, and stepmother Mary. He is survived by his 7 children: Phillip of Littleton, CO; Heather (Ron) Selby of Arizona City, AZ; Timothy (Jennifer) of Littleton, CO; Samuel (Candra) of Springfield, MO; Jedediah (Katherine) of Sabetha, KS; Matthew (Porscha) of Topeka, KS; Sarah (Brent) Hoover of Colby, KS; 13 grandchildren: Jordan, McKayla, Christian, Jacob, Vanessa, Olivia, Riley, Lucas, Jackson, William, Annabeth, Carter, and Elizabeth

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