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1924 Austin 2016

Austin Edward Oppenlander

November 17, 1924 — March 4, 2016

Austin E Oppenlander passed away peacefully in his sleep early Friday morning, March 4, 2016 at Rose Arbor Hospice, Kalamazoo, Michigan at the age of 91. Austin was born November 17, 1924 in Lansing, Michigan, the son of Edward and Elma (Kautz) Oppenlander and brother to Marian (Colt), Eleanor (Shaffer), and Doris (DePonio), who all preceded him in death. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force veteran, voted the most outstanding cadet from flight school in the class of 1944, and graduated first in his class in officer training school—he was the “Top Gun”. Following WWII, Austin graduated from Centre College, in Danville Ky, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He was united in marriage to Harriet (Furnish) with whom he had three sons, Craig Oppenlander (who preceded him death), Richard (Jill) Oppenlander of Lawton Michigan, and James (Lynn) Oppenlander of Dublin Ohio. Subsequently, Austin was married to Barbara (Potts). Both Harriet and Barbara preceded him in death. Highest on his list of life passions were sailing and flying. He was a successful entrepreneur, originating and operating/owning businesses over the years. Before retiring in 1974, he was Secretary of Major Appliance Company and President of Lakestate, Inc. (both of Lansing, Mi) and owner of the Sea Shanty Gift & Clothing Shop (Gun Lake, Mi). He was a prior member of the Elks, US Power Squadron, Anchorage Yacht Club, Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club, Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club and Miles Grant Country Club. Once retired, Austin lived in Stuart, Florida for 25 years, where he enjoyed a quieter life near the ocean, sailing with his wife, Barbara. Following Barbara’s death in 2005, Austin returned to Michigan where he lived his remaining days in Kalamazoo. Surviving are two sons, Richard and James; stepson, Charles (Wanda) Potts of Perry; stepdaughter, Jacquelyn (Brian) Ness of Eagle, ID; 11 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren. Cremation has taken place. Memorial contributions may be made to Centre College. Inurement will be in Chapel Hill Cemetery, Lansing, Mi. Arrangements by Redmond Funeral Home, 4100 S. Westnedge Ave. Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (269) 343-6156. www.redmondfuneralhomes.net
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