MINSTER — A founding member of the Minster Oktoberfest will be honored during this year’s event as the parade grand marshal.
Gary John Oldiges, who has lived his entire life in Minster, was named as grand marshal Tuesday evening at The Wooden Shoe in Minster.
In 1975, Oldiges and other members of the Minster Jaycees (the Minster Journeyman’s Club) and Kiwanis (Minster Service Club) began a tradition which celebrates its 41st anniversary this year — the Minster Oktoberfest. This year’s event will be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. The parade will begin Oct. 2 at 2 p.m.
A 1963 graduate of Minster High School, Oldiges received a bachelor’s of science in education degree from Miami University in 1967 and his master of education in curriculum and supervision from Wright State University in 1974.
He began his teaching career with Minster Local Schools in 1967. While he was attending Miami University, Minster Superintendent F.T. Lang asked him if he would be interested in taking a teaching job with Minster when he graduated. Lang wanted to start a special education program in the district and that’s what Oldiges’s degree was in.
He started teaching in January 1967 when a fourth-grade teacher went on maternity leave. The following year he helped found and served as coordinator of the EMR program for Minster, Marion Local and New Bremen. He taught at the junior high level of the program for nine years.
Oldiges taught fourth-grade for seven years and started the Gifted Program for the school district. He worked the high school ENS program and was the LD teacher at the junior high level for 13 years.
He was the audio visual director for 22 years and was a substitute bus driver for 25 years. He was a seventh-grade basketball coach for three years; junior high football coach for eight years; high school assistant football coach for five years; and football scout for 15 years.
Oldiges worked with the God, Flag and Country oratorical program for 12 years and with the IDAA (Institute for Drug and Alcohol Awareness) program for 10 years. He was the chairman of the Artist in Education program which placed murals on the south side of the elementary school building on Hanover Street.
HE is a member of the MTA, OEA, NEA, WOEA and Council for Exceptional Children. He was a junior high school referee for four years; coached boys CYO for two years, was a basketball referee for 12 years and baseball umpire for four years.
In addition to teaching for 30 years, he also owned G.O. Decorating, a painting, paper hanging and refinishing furniture business for 46 years.
He is a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church and was a member of its Men’s Choir for 15 years. He is a board member of the Minster Service Club. He taught grade school religion for two years and high school religion for eight years.
He was an assistant scout master for one year. He was a member of the Minster Jaycees for 12 years. Some of the Jaycee projects he was involved with included chairman of the Father’s Day Picnic, chairman of the Paris Street Park Project and the Punt, Pass and Kick program. He was named Jaycee of the Year and had served the organization as its president.
He was a volunteer with Life Squad bingo and Minster Historical Society. He writes the Out of Our Past column for the Community Post. He was named the Minster Civic Association’s Outstanding Citizen in 2010.
Oldiges is the son of Herman and Min (Ruhenkamp) Oldiges. He was one of three children born to the couple and his siblings, Ron and Marlene, are both deceased.
He and his wife, Mary, are the parents of three sons, Ted, Jeff and Craig. Ted and his wife, Maria, have three children, Nathan, Hannah and Brandon. Craig and his wife, Dianne, have three children, Dawson, Kyra and Brynn. Their son, Jeff, passed away in 2000.