COOPERSTOWN – Homer M. Osterhoudt, 100, who mixed concrete to build the Baseball Hall of Fame and attended all Inductions since 1939 except three, passed away peacefully Saturday, June 30, 2018, at Woodside Hall.
He was born on Jan. 17, 1918, in Oneonta, the son of Maurice C. and Catherine Hopkins Osterhoudt. Later that year, the family moved to 98 Lake St., Cooperstown, where his father worked for the Fenimore Farm Dairy delivering milk by horse and wagon. His parents bought a farm in Phoenix Mills in 1920 where he lived until 1946.
He attended Phoenix Mills’ one-room school house through eighth grade, moving to Cooperstown High School in 1932. For many years he organized annual reunions of his Class of 1936. He was a member of the Cooperstown High School Alumni Association, and its president at one time.
As a young boy, he caddied at the Leatherstocking Golf Club and served a couple years as caddy master. He worked for the local Grand Union grocery in 1939-41 as a clerk and delivered groceries by van.
Homer received his Social Security card in 1937 when he worked for Bedford Construction Co. of Utica building the Baseball Hall of Fame. He mixed cement for the foundation and was a block and brick helper for the masons.
He was present at the dedication of the Hall of Fame on June 12, 1939, and has attended 70 of the 73 inductions since that time. He took photographs at the first Induction ceremony and the baseball game that followed at Doubleday Field, and the Hall of Fame Library has copies of those photos. Homer collected many autographs of Hall of Famers on the pictures he has taken, including some of the initial inductees. He participated in many anniversary celebrations and was in the 60th Anniversary parade on June 12, 1999.
On Dec. 30, 1941, he joined the Army Air Corps and trained at Fort Dix, N.J., and Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Mo. At Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio, he trained as an airplane mechanic with the 4th Air Depot Group, 5th Air Force.
In June 1942 he was sent to Australia, landing at Melbourne, and in October went to Townsville, Queensland where he helped build Depot #2 and repaired airplanes. He left in November 1944 for the Philippines, serving in Tacloban, Leyte and Manila, Luzon.
In May 1945 he headed for the U.S. by way of the Panama Canal, arriving at Newport News, Va. He was discharged at Fort Dix on July 2, 1945. For his service, he received the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Philippine Independence Ribbon.
After the war, he worked at Cook’s Garage in Cooperstown pumping gas, handling parts and driving taxi. He made taxi trips to New York City and other locations until late 1946, when he joined the Postal Service as a carrier in Cooperstown, retiring in 1980. He joined the National Association of Letter Carriers in 1948 and was a member the rest of his life. He held several offices in the Southern Tier District of the NALC, including president.
On June 16, 1946, he married Marion Potter of Worcester at the Second Baptist Church there. They rented apartments in Cooperstown until building a house at 2 Walnut St. in 1949. In 1990, he and Marion bought a mobile home in Wood Dale Mobile Home Park in Zephyrhills, Fla. They spent many winters there. Selling their home in 2005, they moved to Cooper Lane Apartments. Marion passed away on July 30, 2010, after 64 years of marriage. Homer lived the last few years of his life at Woodside Hall.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Cooperstown since 1949. He held positions in the church, teaching youth and adult classes and was a member of the church’s Couples Club. He and Marion attended many national and state meetings of the American Baptist churches. He served as secretary as well as vice-president of the Otsego Baptist Men’s Association. He was an active member of the Boy Scout Troop 54 Committee for over 25 years. The troop was sponsored by the First Baptist Church. He was vice chairman of the Mohican District, B.S.A. for two years.
The Osterhoudts joined the Doubleday Dancers Western Square Dance Club in Cooperstown in 1971 and were active members until 2005. He served as President. They danced in many places in New York State, as well as Florida and Missouri. In 1985, they traveled with the club to Hawaii and were presented with Lifetime Memberships.
Homer was a member of the Native Sons of Cooperstown, serving as president for one year. The VFW Post 7128 of Cooperstown presented him with a lifetime membership. After his retirement in 1980, he volunteered to drive for the county Office for the Aging, picking up seniors in Cherry Valley, Milford, Hartwick and New Lisbon, and delivering meals to the homebound through the county nutrition program.
Homer was the oldest of five boys and two sisters. He was predeceased by brothers Ralph, Lincoln (who died in 1944 in Holland as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division), John and Howard and sisters Helen Osterhoudt Baxter and Louise (who died as a child).
He is survived by his son, Darrell and daughter-in-law Priscilla, Springfield, Va., and his granddaughter, Dana Roesener, of Springfield, Mo.; sister-in-law Nola Osterhoudt of Sharon Springs; and several nieces, and nephews and cousins.
Services will be Thursday July 5 at the First Baptist Church, 21 Elm St, Cooperstown, NY with Rev. Joseph Perdue officiating.
The Funeral Service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 5, at First Baptist Church, 21 Elm St., Cooperstown, with the family in attendance at 10 a.m. Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. the Maple Grove Cemetery, Worcester.
Donations in Homer’s memory may be made to the First Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 21 Elm St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are under the care of Tillapaugh Funeral Service, Cooperstown.