Deacon Ed Osterhaus was always available to serve at St. Bernard

Deacon Edwin “Ed” Osterhaus was dedicated to serving his parish, St. Bernard in Omaha, always available for whatever was needed, said a longtime friend, fellow parishioner and deacon.

Deacon Osterhaus died July 7 at age 86. A funeral Mass was celebrated July 11 at St. Bernard.

“He was a part of St. Bernard’s, a building block, involved wherever he could be,” said Deacon Paul Dreismeier, who knew Deacon Osterhaus for more than 50 years.

Deacon Osterhaus and his wife, Sheila, had been members of St. Bernard since 1964. They would have celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate later this year.

He was particularly involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), Deacon Dreismeier said, and served as chaplain for the parish’s Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul groups.

Deacon Osterhaus was a
musician, who played drums as a boy and later learned to strum a four-string banjo, according to a tribute written by his family.

“He and his banjo became a staple at St. Bernard’s, providing music for weekly Mass for almost 40 years,” the tribute said. “At one point someone gifted him with a tenor guitar which mellowed the tone, but not the enthusiasm with which he played and sang.”

He also was known for his puns, corny jokes and one-liners.

Deacon Osterhaus retired from the diaconate in January, but continued to serve, helping with baptism classes for young couples and preparing the altar for Masses.

He and his wife were also active for more than 50 years in the Christian Family Movement, a national network of parish- or neighborhood-based Catholic families, and had served together as national vice presidents.

Deacon Osterhaus, a native of Marysville, Kansas, graduated from the former Technical High School in Omaha, where he learned the printing trade.

After serving in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician aboard an aircraft carrier during the Korean War, he returned to Omaha and bought the American Printing Company, a one-man business he operated for 50 years.

Deacon Osterhaus was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Margaret Osterhaus; infant daughter Catherine Osterhaus; grandson Ricki Getzschman; sister, Marge Daboll; and brothers Donald and Richard Osterhaus.

Survivors include his wife; children Elaine (David) Giboo, Jean (Doug Eggers) Daigle, Joe (Jill Hicks) Osterhaus, Mary Chris (Dan Blumer) Getzschman and Tom (Stefanie) Osterhaus; 19 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law Sharon (Cy) Meister and Sheryll Snow; and brother-in-law, Thomas Barry.

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