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Former state American Legion commander Oestereich dies at 83

January 06, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Orlyn Oestereich salutes May 29 during National Anthem Saturday on the square in Sharpsburg.
File photo

BOONSBORO — A Boonsboro man who served as the state commander of the American Legion died last week after a brief illness.

Orlyn Oestereich, 83, died Saturday at Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown.

Oestereich’s wife, Connie, said doctors discovered during a routine medical examination last month that her husband had a severe lung problem.

“He was a tremendous person,” Connie Oestereich said. “He volunteered to help a lot of people. He was a super person.”

Oestereich assumed the post of Maryland state commander of the American Legion on July 17, 2009, and served a one-year term. As state commander, he was responsible for 149 posts and 70,000 members.

Connie Oestereich said her husband was devoted to the Clopper-Michael American Legion Post 10 in Boonsboro, visiting the operation every day to help with bingo and other activities.

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Oestereich was drafted into the Army in 1945 and served after World War II as a medic with the 1st Înfantry Division.

He said during an interview in 2009 that he didn’t know his draft notice would be the beginning of a 37 1/2-year career in the military.

In addition to serving in World War II, Oestereich served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, primarily in medical units. He also served as an administrator and prosthetics researcher at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Drafted as a private, Oestereich rose to the rank of colonel before his retirement in 1984.

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