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Originally published: 2014-01-21 14:20:53
Last modified: 2014-01-21 14:21:39

Richard Edgbert Oehser

Richard "Dick" Edgbert Oehser, loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on Jan. 20, 2014, dying peacefully in Jacksonville surrounded by family.

He died of complications from leukemia, which he bravely fought for nearly a year, with the dignity and grace with which he lived nearly 84 years. Dick was born in Arlington, Va., on March 16, 1930, attending the University of Missouri before leaving for a long career in the moving and storage industry. He worked in Lake City, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., Indianapolis, Ind., Evansville, Ind., Washington, D.C., and Seattle, Wash., for companies such as Paxton Van Lines, American Red Ball, Atlas Van Lines and Smythe Van Lines, before moving to Jacksonville to join Suddath Moving and Storage in 1973. Dick held various positions with Suddath, including Vice President of Operations, and was among a strong group of leaders that helped the company grow from a local company to one that now has branches and agents nation- and worldwide.

Upon retirement in 1985, Dick and his loving wife, Rhoda, remained in Jacksonville for nearly a decade, relocating to Boone, in 1994, where they resided happily for nearly 20 years.

Dick in the early 1990s worked briefly in the publishing industry in Ridgefield, Conn., assisting with the merger of the Acorn Press and the Hersam Publishing Company. A lover of birdwatching and nature, as well as an avid lifelong sports fan, Dick also was an avid runner for more than two decades, participating in the first River Run in 1978, and running in many thereafter. He enjoyed feeding birds and spending time with family. He was known for his strikingly quick wit which was perhaps his defining characteristic, in which he maintained throughout his life and through his battle with cancer. And just as much, he was known to friends and family for being there to assist in times of need and crisis.

While in Boone, Dick worked extensively building wooden model ships, a hobby he grew to love and shared with family and friends. He also was active in the community in Boone, volunteering with the Watauga County Project on Aging's Meals on Wheels Program, delivering meals for 10 years to the elderly until health no longer permitted.

Dick is survived by Rhoda, his wife of 29 years; three children, Tina Oehser, Don Oehser and wife, Laura, and John Oehser and wife, Cheri; by one stepchild, Greg Goodwin and wife, Mary Helen; daughter-in-law Karen Goodwin; 10 grandchildren, Paul Oehser, Olivia Oehser, Emma Caudill and husband, Kyle, Mary Goodwin, Anna Oehser, Brian Goodwin, Sam Oehser, Jacob Oehser, Jenna Karli Goodwin and Kelsey Goodwin; and great-grandson, Sam Goodwin. He also is survived by his brother, Gordon Oehser and wife, Sue, as well as his former wife, and John's mother, Liz.

He is preceded in death by his father, Paul Oehser; mother, Grace Oehser; and stepchild, John-Karl Goodwin; as well as his former wife, and Tina and Don's mother, Manya Swierczek.

A gathering for family and friends will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Watauga County Project on Aging's Meals on Wheels Program, 132 Poplar Grove Connector, Suite A, Boone, NC 28607.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin, 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223,, (904) 288-0025.