Clarence has been a member of the Grove American Legion post for 18 years, and the members are going to hold a parade and fish fry in his honor during their regular monthly meeting. The Post is inviting the Grove community to help him celebrate by lining the parade route as well as attending the fish fry which follows at the Legion.
A surprise parade will be held on Tuesday in Grove to honor the 102nd birthday of WWII Army veteran Clarence Oestreich. Clarence has been a member of the Grove American Legion post for 18 years, and the members are going to hold a parade and fish fry in his honor during their regular monthly meeting.
The Post is inviting the Grove community to help him celebrate by lining the parade route as well as attending the fish fry which follows at the Legion. The Tuesday parade begins at 6 p.m. at the Grove Civic Center and will travel down Main Street toward downtown and turn on O’Daniel Parkway to the Legion headquarters. The theme of the parade is “102 and Still Standing for the Red. White and Blue.”
Post Commander Lee Cathy asks that people wave American Flags along the route. The parade the Oklahoma American Legion State Commander as well as the Vice Commander. There will be a number of classic cars and motorcycles along with representatives of Jay's American Legion Post 195. Of course, the Grove American Legion Honor Team and the American Legion Riders will also be in the parade.
Clarence was born in 1918 in Linn, Kan. He grew up on a farm. He survived the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the Great Depression in 1929.
In 1942, he joined the Third Army serving under General George Patton. During his time in Europe, he served in England, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Austria. He was in combat from 1944 to 1945. He served as a mechanic and was on the Normandy Beach after the landing to help troops move forward to free Europe.
In 1945, Clarence returned stateside and was treated for disabilities he received during his service. He resumed his career with the Colgate-Palmolive company in Kansas City, and retired to Grand Lake. When his wife, Wilma, passed away after 33 years of marriage, he became a member of the American Legion and was active in his church. He later met his wife, Jo Ellen, and was married for 30 years until her death in 2015.
Little did he know that he would be retired longer than the number of years he worked for Colgate. Clarence has resided at Baptist Village since 2007 and is still active both at the residential facility and at the American Legion where he regularly attends meetings and enjoys life and social activities.
Clarence’s advice on living a long, full life is “Just keep moving!”