Clarence and Helen Oestreich
Helen and Clarence Oestreich have been devoted Christians and faithful Lutherans all their lives. While Clarence was a pastor and loving husband, father, and community leader, Helen ministered to individual congregation members needs and did just about everything needed at church from teaching Sunday School to playing the organ for worship services. Married for 69 years, together they built a life based on the principles of giving to others.
Clarence who was Pastor at many Texas churches including St. Paul in LaGrange, Texas, died at age 96. In addition to their legacy of faith, the Oestreichs raised three sons and a daughter: Richard Lee Oestreich and wife, Ann, of Kilgore; Nathan Alan Oestreich and wife, Nami, of San Diego, California; Philip Henry Oestreich and wife, Helen, of LaGrange. Their daughter is Janet Ruth Shaner and husband, Earl, of Mount Dora, Florida.
Clarence and Helen met when she was a nurse and he a temporary patient and their relationship grew. He was ordained on May 30, 1943 and spent his entire 43 years as a pastor in Texas. His first call was to First Lutheran Church in Edinburg from 1943-1948, followed by Christ Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi from 1948-1957, Gethsemane Lutheran Church in San Antonio from 1957-1966, and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Grange from 1966-1986. Oestreich was a member of Lutheran Men in Mission, La Grange Senior Citizens Activity Center, Capital Area Council of Governments, Brenham Mission Society, and La Grange Noon Lions Club. Helen was by his side throughout his contributions and made many of her own.
This faithful Lutheran couple has ten grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. Even in retirement, the Oestreichs continued to bless others with ministry. Clarence provided services in neighboring churches and communities and Helen was often at his side throughout the many activities and worship services as he served during interim and pulpit supply throughout central Texas. In the fall of 2015 at the age of 96 she attended the Women of the ELCA Conference in LaGrange and was active at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church even attending church and Sunday School regularly unaided. Helen remains faithful to her church routines and acknowledges the work of others with a smile on her face and a kind word for all.
Their legacy will live on through the donation they have designated for Lutheran ministries in their “end-of-life stewardship” plans. Both of them want to see the next generation of Lutherans serving God in ways that glorify His bounty and goodness. Thank you Helen and Clarence, for your vision and blessing to others paying it forward for future generations.