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Harry George Oelrich

Harry George Oelrich, 92, of Bemidji, died Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009, at Havenwood Care Center in Bemidji.

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bemidji with the Rev. Matthew Wurm officiating. A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home with a prayer service following the visitation. Family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji. Military honors will be provided by Harold Baggenstoss VFW Post 1260.

Pallbearers will be Mike Oelrich, Paul Oelrich, Ron Oelrich Jr., Jason Oelrich, Christopher Oelrich and Culley Sebo.

He was born Nov. 1, 1916, to Herman and Rose Oelrich in rural Foley, Minn., in Benton County. At the age of 4, he moved with his parents to Guthrie. He attended school in Guthrie and worked with the railroad in the Guthrie area. On Jan. 29, 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served almost four years in the World War II European Theater, 727th Railway Operating Battalion, which was under Eisenhower's command. When in France and Germany, he was under Gen. George S. Patton's command. On Aug. 31, 1945, he arrived in Miami, Fla. He was honorably discharged Sept. 7, 1945, at Camp McCoy, Wis., with the rank of staff sergeant technician.

After arriving home, he was a substitute driver for a mail route in Guthrie. He married Josephine Wolf at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bemidji Feb. 14, 1946. He was employed by a wholesale house, Nash Finch Co., for a couple of years. In 1949, he began employment with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where he worked until his retirement March 1, 1981.

He and his wife operated an antique shop from their home from 1960-2002. He enjoyed going to auctions and rummage sales. He was a lifelong member of the VFW and was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Bemidji.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years; sons, Dan (Lynn) Oelrich of Goochland, Va., Jerry (Michele) Oelrich of Bemidji and Ronald (Debbie) Oelrich of Bemidji; a daughter, Joan (Mike) Webb of Tuckasegee, N.C; 11 grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; six stepgreat-grandchildren; a sister-in-law; nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, James, Clifford, Walter and Erwin; and a premature little sister.

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