Jerry Ostrom


We lost a patriot and a compassionate cowboy May 20 when Jerry Ostrom left us. Born in 1932 to John and Francis in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he lived the full experience of the great depression. During World War II the family relocated to San Diego, California, where Jerry graduated from high school in 1949. He joined the Naval Reserves and was the first family member to attend college. He started working seasonally for the Cleveland National Forest, fighting fires and managing recreation facilities.  

Jerry attended Oregon State College, studying forestry and was called into active duty where he was assigned to the Navy Seabees. He was proud of his military accomplishments as a surveyor where he worked on runways and crew barracks in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At sea, he mapped the bottom of the ocean across the Atlantic and Mediterranean. After his service, Jerry completed his forestry degree and graduated in the first class at Humboldt State University.  

Jerry’s career started with the Nevada Division of Forestry — serving as the crew boss for inmate crews. The BLM recruited him, as a land examiner to follow up on Homestead Entry Act claims. It was rewarding work and he became assistant district manager in the states of Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming.  

Jerry loved horses and participated in wild horse roundups where he kept and broke several.  Eventually he married the local 4-H Home Economics extension agent, Joyce, in 1967; they had three sons. He cherished being a father and was very involved with his boys. He taught them baseball, fishing, hunting, shooting, horsemanship, working with livestock, served as a 4-H leader in leather craft, woodworking, geology, wildlife studies and rope craft. Jerry retired from the BLM in 1983 and bought a place near Powell to start an agriculture life.

Jerry’s second career in Powell included farming, outfitting, working for the Big Horn Enterprises, substitute teaching and repairing sewing machines. He especially enjoyed instructing Hunter Safety, volunteering with the DAV, playing his guitar and singing old cowboy songs with the Travelers and Old Time Fiddlers. He truly loved to entertain and would play his music at the senior centers, assisted living, nursing homes and other locations.  

Jerry was the last of his generation and was welcomed in heaven by his parents, two brothers, one sister and youngest son DanO. He is survived by his wife Joyce of 57 years, son Ken (Phyllis) of Thorne Bay, Alaska, and son Ron of Powell; grandchildren Trista (Tom) of Cheyenne, Kendra (Brandon) of Powell/Moran, Adelle of Meridian, Idaho, and Claire of Sheridan.

Everyone will miss his infectious smile, gentile personality and a great sense of humor. He always gave more than what was expected and helped where he could. Jerry loved the outdoors and rarely missed an opportunity to ride horses in the mountains, go hunting or fishing, and support family activities.  

The family will host a celebration of life on Friday, May 24 at 10 a.m. at the Thompson Funeral Home in Powell with a reception following at St. Barbara’s Catholic Church hall. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations to be made to the Dano Youth Camp (