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Clara Jo Ostergren

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Clara Jo Ostergren Obituary
October 20, 1922 - August 7, 2015 "I'm a lucky old woman." Clara Jo said this nearly every day, but we knew we were really the lucky ones. Selfless and kind. Quick-witted and funny. Smart. Capable. Thoughtful, loving, and down to earth. Hers was a generous spirit. Always positive, she found the good in every person and situation. She was the real deal and that's why people loved her. Recognized everywhere by her cloud of white hair and abundance of energy, her kids affectionately called her the white tornado. Born Clara Josephine Hopkins, and raised on a ranch and in small town Wyoming, she was a bit of a tomboy all her life. A gifted wordsmith, Clara Jo was an award winning debater and school newspaper editor at both Riverton High School and Nebraska Wesleyan University, where she earned her bachelor's in 1944. In 1945, she completed her master's in journalism at Columbia University, then worked as a journalist for several years in New York and Washington D.C. As the story goes, she "won" an engagement ring in a game of cribbage, and married Benjamin Ostergren in 1951. In the following years, they lived in North Carolina and Illinois before settling in the Los Angeles area in 1965 with their four children. Clara Jo turned her talents toward raising her family and supporting their activities as a Girl Scout leader and organizer, Cub Scout den mother, PTA president, Little League volunteer, Sunday school teacher, and chauffeur, carting her kids around in her VW bus. With her youngest in high school, she returned to the working world and helped run the vocational school she and her husband owned (and of course, she edited the school's newsletter). Following retirement, they traveled widely in their Model T Fords. She made her husband's hobby her own and together they shared a passion for antique cars. Clara Jo was the editor of "The Flivver," the San Fernando Valley Model T Ford Club's newsletter, for 31 years. In 1995, she and her husband jointly received a national award for their service to the hobby. She was also a 73-year active member of P.E.O., an organization of women supporting women's education. Clara Jo died peacefully at home surrounded by love. She leaves behind her children: Joan, Bryan (Ramona), Karen (Ken Naylor), and Gail Ostergren, and relatives and friends too numerous to list. She was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years. Never one to be the center of attention, Clara Jo requested that there be no service. Since there is a long tradition of family and friends gathering at her house, we will instead invite people there to honor and remember her at a date to be announced. A memorial scholarship fund is being established in her name through P.E.O. Those wishing to contribute may contact the family for more information. Happy touring, Old Timer!
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 15 to Aug. 16, 2015
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