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William Errol "Bud" Osterberg


1921 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
William Errol "Bud" Osterberg Obituary
William "Bud" Errol Osterberg
August 31, 1921 - March 26, 2014
Resident of Santa Cruz
Bud Osterberg (also known as Errol Herman between 3rd grade and graduation from high school) was born August 31, 1921 in a farmhouse near Albion, Washington, a small town outside of Pullman. At nine weeks old his mother and two siblings moved to California. Bud lived in many places throughout California but Santa Cruz was his beloved home from the late 1930s until he passed peacefully in his sleep at the age of 92 on March 26, 2014.
Bud was born to Ellen Amanda Shawver Osterberg Herman Hill and Oscar Fredolph Osterberg. Bud is predeceased by his parents, his first wife Lorraine Cruz Osterberg (13 years) and their son William "Bill" Errol Osterberg, Jr., and Bud's second wife Edna Fairhurst Osterberg (27 years). He is also predeceased by his sisters Grace Osterberg McCray and Edna Osterberg, his half-brothers Donald Osterberg and Danny Osterberg and his step son Richard Fairhurst. He is survived by his daughter Deborah Osterberg (her boyfriend Raul Yepez); his stepchildren Linda Swart of Santa Cruz and David Fairhurst of Massachusetts; his half siblings Fred Osterberg, Carl Osterberg and Dolly Osterberg Padjan; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and great–great nieces and nephews; step grandchildren and step great grandchildren; and many friends.
Bud's childhood was spent in many places throughout California (resulting in 27 school changes) including Exeter, Long Beach, Sanger, Imperial Valley, Santa Barbara, Millbrae, Loma Mar, and Pescadero (and many more in Southern California). Some of these moves were due to his family's involvement in racing grey hounds. Bud attended several schools in Santa Cruz including Mission Hill School, Soquel Elementary (original one room school house), Laurel Elementary and Bay View Elementary. Bud proudly graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1941.
While a high school student in 1938, Bud apprenticed as a wood turner with John "Pappy" Sinkinson who owned a mill and log cabin showroom on River Street (where the Gateway Plaza on River Street now stands). There Bud honed his skills in making redwood novelty souvenirs, a skill he'd return to later in his life.
Upon graduation from high school, Bud's uncle Thomas Shawver got him a job at the Basalt Rock Company shipyard in Napa. Amazingly, Bud helped build the same auxiliary rescue and salvage ship, the USS Clamp (ARS-33), which he would later sail out on as a Navy crewman in the South Pacific in 1942. The USS Clamp sailed with the main fleet and was awarded battle stars for service at the invasions of Tinian, Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Aboard the USS Clamp he manned a 50 caliber machine gun. During the invasions he performed welding repairs on landing craft propellers while under a tarp in order to protect him from enemy fire, though not from the oppressive heat. At Iwo Jima, Bud watched the famous flag raisings by Marines on Mt. Suribachi. During the Battle of Okinawa, Bud made emergency repairs to keep the destroyer, USS Laffey, afloat after being hit by five kamikazes. In 1998, Bud was able to point out to his children the exact spots of his welding repairs on that very same ship, now preserved at a naval museum in South Carolina. Bud's own ship, the USS Clamp, was moored at the Reserve Fleet (mothball fleet) near Martinez until 2011, when it was removed for metal salvaging.
After the war, Bud returned to California to live with his mother in Bonny Doon where he started a business making redwood novelties with Gilbert Nichols. In 1951, Bud joined the Santa Cruz Fire Department where he and good friend Harold Welch put into operation the Westside Fire Station. In his 25 year career as a fireman, Bud served at all of the Santa Cruz fire stations and retired as a station Captain. On Thursday April 3rd through Saturday April 5th, all City of Santa Cruz fire stations will fly their flags at half-mast in honor of Bud.
While serving the City of Santa Cruz, Bud also continued his own one-man redwood novelty business until the late 1970s. He was most well noted for his miniature vases and pitchers which he sold to gift shops along the Redwood Highway and at state and national parks such as Big Basin, Henry Cowell, Yosemite and Sequoia.
His daughter Deborah noted that her father was retired much longer than he worked which is something many of us hope to emulate. Throughout that retirement, Bud and his wife Edna enjoyed many travels around the western states in their van. They also liked to collect and sell antiques and hand-made wares on the weekends. Bonny Doon Ranch was where Bud was happiest and where he spent most of his time maintaining his orchard and spent countless hours cutting firewood. He would also start redwood seedlings to give to family and friends to plant, so his beloved Bonny Doon redwoods would be widely enjoyed.
Bud was well known for walking about Santa Cruz in his signature red-flame suspenders. He was a survivor, having successfully managed his Type 1 diabetes for over 50 years. Bud's hair was always a topic of conversation, because though his black mane had lightened, it never turned gray. Up to his 92nd year, Bud still loved visiting with family and friends and sharing stories about his life and Santa Cruz history. He was an upstanding family man and a true gentleman.
A funeral service will take place on Saturday, April 5th at 1 pm, Santa Cruz Memorial Chapel, 1927 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. Please bring stories to share aloud. A reception immediately following the service will be held at the Harvey West Park Clubhouse, 326 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, if you so wish, please donate to one of the charities that have meaning to the family:
The Salvation Army, 721 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312
The Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, 144 School St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
If you would like to send your condolences to Bud's family, share your memories, light a candle in his memory, please visit www.scmemorial.com
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Mar. 30, 2014
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