Wylie Osler departed Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, the day of his birthday, 89 years old. His goal was to stay in his beloved home on Dickey Lake to the end. He died in his own bed at home and then it was feet first on to the next adventure – mission accomplished.
He was born outside of Denton, Mont., Oct. 8, 1923, to Earl and Laura Osler. In 1937, the Osler family moved to Trego. In 1940, Wylie’s dad, and his seven sons, started sawmilling until an interruption called World War II sent six of the seven Osler brothers to various European theaters. After the war ended, the Osler brothers picked up where they left off, establishing the Osler Brothers Lumber Co, Inc. They continued logging for the next 22 years, eventually selling out to Plum Creek Lumber Company in 1968. Wylie then bought a gravel pit in Rexford and ran that until 1972, when he was flooded out by Libby Dam. After that he officially retired, but continued buying and selling property throughout the Tobacco Valley.
He is survived by his wife, Beverley; daughters Kathy Turner and Freddie Phelps; sons, Pat Osler, Chris Osler, and Kelly Osler; seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren; and two brothers, Ervin and John Osler. He was preceded in death by his brothers Glen, Phil, Gerald and Dale.
Special thanks to Wylie’s caregivers, Jackie Poch, Sammie Doherty, Jessica Doherty, Samantha Little, and all other helpers. Further thanks to Dr. Stein and staff, and the Eureka Ambulance crew for their many trips over the years. Also many thanks to all Wylie’s cribbage buddies, especially Burt Rice and Gary Dieziger.
Wylie was defined by his love of life and people; he was a consummate story teller with a prodigious memory of places and people of the Tobacco Valley. The phrase: “Never met a stranger” fit him well. His enthusiasm for life and people may be traced to his luck of surviving being shot point blank in the chest with a .12 gauge shot gun at age 15, service in World War II, and a life long battle with asthma. Blessed, he lived his married life, raised five children in the same house, to the same woman, on Dickey Lake, his self proclaimed best place in the world. He was known to some as the “Mayor of Dickey Lake.”
Wylie had many interests: fishing, traveling, cruises, bowling, cribbage, pinochle, and golfing, just to name a few. Concerning golf, his style was unorthodox: He played left-handed and only with woods (and a putter) decades before the golf industry dreamed up the “hybrid.” He had 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 woods and he used them all, even out of sand traps. Finesse was never a part of Wylie’s golf game; surely the harder one swings the further the ball must inevitably fly.
Wylie loved card games, especially cribbage. Countless hours were spent playing with family and friends. He was a master at pegging and always managed to somehow secure a win even when defeat seemed imminent. He would sometimes look at his cribbage hand carefully, then laugh and exclaim that he had “the big one!” just to throw you off your game. His love for the game extended to teaching it for several years to Eureka grade school kids to help improve their math skills.
Wylie loved traveling, and over his lifetime, he and his family made trips throughout Europe, the British Isles, the Scandinavian countries, and Mexico. He especially enjoyed cruising, and made several to Mexico, the Panama Canal, and Alaska with many of his family members. Not surprisingly, he would meet people he knew in those far off places.
That was Wylie.
Mass of the Resurrection was Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Visitation was Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Eureka.