I am Otis Wesley Lael, born July 21, 1929 at Almira,
Washington. My parents, both deceased, were Jacob Daniel Lael and Corda
Eudorah Purtee. It is unusual that the deceased writes his own obituary,
but I am doing so and I approve this message. I grew up on a sheep ranch
in the state of Washington and left there to join the Army (Infantry
branch) in 1946.
I served three years in the
Army and then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where I spent sufficient
time to retire from the combined services in 1967. During my Air Force
career, I was an administrative man and rose to be an Air Force First
Sgt. for the last seven years. While in the military service, I served
in Korea, Wyoming, Morocco, California, Newfoundland, Georgia and North
Dakota. My civilian employment included being foreman at a wholesale
nursery, Bailey's, in the South St. Paul area, 11 years with the JC
Penney Co., retiring as maintenance supervisor, and 20 years part time
at the Pine River Country Club doing grounds maintenance - gopher and
flower man. I have been involved in making fish spearing decoys for
about 35 years. The National Fish Decoy Association has seen fit to
award me the Living Legend Award in 2001 and Folk Art Carver of the Year
in 2003. I have recently completed what I believe to be the world's
biggest fish decoy at 8-ft. long (if not the biggest, close to it!) I am
a lifetime member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars,
Disabled American Veterans, the Air Force Sgts. Assoc., the MN Dark
House Assoc., and the National Fish Decoy Assoc.
During my Air Force career I
met and married Mary Elizabeth Keating of New York, who was also in the
Air Force. Of this marriage, six children were born in the following
order: James Daniel Lael, a retired Army First Sgt. from Clarksville,
TN, Michael Westley Lael, a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. From Rio
Rancho, NM, Ellen Marie Bristow of Pine River, married to a local
farmer, Conrad, John Charles Lael of Pine River, a power company lineman
and farmer, Patricia Ann Evermann of Spicer, and Lillie Irene Bueckers,
a registered nurse who lives in Hudson, WI. After the death of my first
wife, I married Lois Jean Esry who had two daughters, Jaquie and
Jeannette. Lois died and the girls went to points unknown. I then
married Shirley Irene Bay, who had one daughter, Teresa Seibold, who
lives in Blue Springs, MO with her family.
Along with my wife, Shirley,
and my children, I am survived by 17 grandchildren and three
great-grandchildren. I have two surviving sisters, Wanna Lee Bartol and
Donna Sly, both of the Spokane, WA area, and three brothers, John Daniel
(Jack), Grady E. (Skip) and Larry E. Lael, all of Washington. Two
grandchildren, Kathleen Bristow and Wade Bristow, preceded me in death.
I believe that funerals should
be a happy time, so cheer up, laugh and enjoy. Thanks for listening and
have a great day.
Services will be 11 a.m. on
Friday, Aug. 19 at Kline Funeral Home in Pine River. Burial will follow
at the Jenkins Cemetery. Friends may call Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and
one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements are with Kline
Funeral Home, Pine River.
Lake Country Echo / Pine River Journal