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Earcel "Mel" OstlerAugust 10, 1931 ~ July 14, 2017 (age 85)
It is with deep reflection that we announce the passing of our husband and father Earcel Melvin Ostler of Honeyville, Utah on July 14, 2017. He was 85 years old. “Mel” was born on August 10, 1931 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Earcel Murdock Ostler and Cleone Steed (Walker, Ostler) Langley.
Mel returns to join his father, mother, step-mother, step-father, his oldest son Earcel Melvin Ostler, Jr., his daughters Mary Hope Ostler, Linda Caroline Ostler, and his son Joseph Daniel Ostler who have already passed. His surviving family includes his wife, Mary Hope Ostler, his siblings Shirley, Don, Lannice and Larry, and his surviving children David, Michael, Rebecca, Elizabeth Jo, Donna, Victoria, Sarrah, Mark, Larry, Matthew, Donald, Jonathan and Benjamin, his grandchildren and so forth.
In his early years, Mel lived a happy childhood with both of his parents and three siblings in the Salt Lake City area. He was surrounded by extended family on both sides, including his maternal grandmother and great-grandfather. He valued one especially early memory of his great-grandfather, who was blind, meticulously nurturing a beloved rose garden. He maintained an ideal of close extended family relationships from these early connections.
His parents divorced while he was still very young and his father moved to California. When Mel was nine years old, Cleone remarried Joe Langley. The years that followed involved frequent family relocation throughout the Utah and Idaho area as Joe followed work in his craft as a laborer for The Great Depression’s WPA program. These years were particularly hard for Mel for a multitude of reasons. In 1942, after two years with his mother and stepfather, Mel, his brother Don, and his sister Shirley were reconnected with their father as he took them to California. The kindness of his new stepmother, Leah - who he came to regard as his own mom, helped him begin healing from the hardships he endured in the years after his parents divorced. Meanwhile, the kindness of the local church members filled his heart with the seeds of faith.
He served honorably in a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the people of Texas where he became fluent in Spanish. His love for that region, those people and that language was evident throughout his life. While serving in Texas, he met Oralia DeLeon (Riley). Shortly after being released from his mission, he returned to Texas and courted Riley. They were married in 1954, the same year he was drafted.
Mel was a veteran of the US conflict with North Korea. After basic military training at Ft. Ord, Monterey, California, he was posted to Ft. Hood, TX. He handled the loading of B-52 heavy bombers with ordinance bound for Russia. In that service he learned that he enjoyed applied science and decided to pursue a higher education after military service was complete. He studied at Brigham Young University where he graduated in 1959 with a BS in Mathematics and a minor in physics. Also, while at BYU, he served in his ward young men’s program. His service there was particularly meaningful to him as one of his young men died of cancer, the result of nuclear testing then taking place in the Nevada desert.
His career as a physicist began immediately after graduation in California. His professional work furthered the fields of wave theory and aerodynamics. As he lived in California, he served as a Sunday school teacher. He was liked very much by his students, likely a result of his candor witty humor. Also there, his relationship with Riley deteriorated and they divorced. Mel and Riley had seven children together; the oldest died in a tragic car accident as an infant. Mel assumed custody of the remaining six children and took a new position in Pocatello, Idaho.
While in Pocatello, Mel met Mary (Brown) Bruderer, a divorced mother of two (Sarrah and Mark) who was living with her parents. They courted, were married on July 6, 1968, and sealed on March 7, 1969 in the Los Angeles, CA Temple. The family relocated to Long Island, NY in March 1969.
Shortly after moving to the small town of Riverhead, NY, Mel was called to be the first bishop when the Riverhead Branch became a ward. The stories of “Bishop Ostler” are still spoken of among long-time members in the Riverhead area. Stories about blessings of comfort to those who returned from Vietnam or blessings that seemed to mend a boy’s arm after he fell from a tree, are all very common. What seems most prevalent among those members is the sense that whether he agreed with them individually or not, he truly loved each of the members.
While in New York, Mel became terribly allergic to cigarette smoke, a common workplace hazard in that field. Some effort was made to provide a non-smoking workspace for him but the practice was so pervasive that his sensitivity to smoke caused him to develop emphysema. By the end of 1972 he no longer worked in the science and technology field and the family started a bakery near Riverhead, NY. The bakery thrived and the family added Larry, Matthew, Donald, Mary and Caroline to the family. Unfortunately, both Mary and Carrie passed away in infancy from common childhood ailments, pneumonia and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
In 1977, after the loss of Carrie, the family moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Mel supported his family through his employment as a construction worker and eventually started his own contracting company. In Las Cruces, Jonathan, Joseph and Benjamin were added to the family, but Joseph didn’t make it. In 1984, after suffering the legal consequences of entering a full partnership with an untrustworthy partner, he found himself unable to solicit operating capital from lenders for his work; he closed the contracting company. He then immersed himself into another career programming 1980-model personal computers. He continued to do that until he left Las Cruces in 1996.
Within the church in Las Cruces, his services continued. He sat on the stake high council, served in bishoprics, as a scout leader, worked as an early morning seminary teacher and held numerous other leadership positions. He was a trusted friend by everyone who knew him. Whether organizing the construction of a porch for a friend’s new widow or bringing homemade root beer and ice cream to a ward picnic, he was always easy company to keep. He once expressed that he lived in Las Cruces longer than he had lived anywhere else in his life. He commented that the peace of that stability helped to heal many of the emotional wounds he still carried from his young childhood. He left Las Cruces a very different person.
His final days were spent occupying a parcel of land in Honeyville, Utah. As resourceful as ever, and often with the materials naturally available, he took a vacant piece of property and turned it into a home with a bit of land to raise crops on. He spent his last years serving in the church, doing genealogy and performing temple service.
His time was well spent and will be well remembered, until we meet again.
Gifts or donations in his honor should be made payable to his widow, Mary Ostler, for the care of their sons, Larry and Donald.
Funeral Service will be held Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 11 am at the Honeyville LDS 1st Ward Chapel. Viewings will be held Tuesday evening, July 25, 2017 from 6 to 8 pm at Aaron's Mortuary, 496 24th Street, Ogden, Utah and Wednesday morning from 9:30 to 1030 am prior to services at the church in Honeyville. Interment Honeyville City Cemetery.