Etheleen Story Oster, 94, passed away in Lakeland under the care of Good Shepherd Hospice on Dec. 19, 2013.
A resident of Bartow for more than six decades, she was born in Kissimmee, Fla., on Nov. 24, 1919, to Lyles V. and Ethel Mills Story.
As a child, Etheleen moved with her family to Winter Haven. She graduated from Winter Haven High School, where she was chosen homecoming queen and was awarded the prestigious DAR Citizenship Award.
She attended Florida Southern College for a year in 1939. During World War II, Etheleen and her first husband lived in California and Washington state, while he was in military service. They returned to Winter Haven for several years before moving to Bartow.
Taking classes at Florida Southern College and Polk Community College while caring for her family, Etheleen completed the equivalent of an Associate’s Degree and began working as an Associate Teacher for the Polk County School system in the late 1960s. While working at Bartow Elementary School, she renewed an acquaintance with principal William T. Oster, and the pair married in 1969. Both worked for the school system until their retirements in the 1980s.
The Osters traveled extensively, their adventures including cruises up the Inside Passage to Alaska and the islands of the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The couple motored through Ireland, and made numerous car trips through the southern and eastern U.S. and Canada.
Etheleen was cherished for her devotion to her family and friends. An avid reader who was committed to a healthy lifestyle, she was able to be at home and enjoy her dog, reading, and engaging in conversation about world events until shortly before her death.
Late in her life, Etheleen was diagnosed with the immune disorder, atypical systemic lupus erythematosus. It was her wish to raise awareness of the ailment and to encourage continued efforts to find treatments to relieve the suffering of others afflicted with lupus.
Preceding Etheleen in death were her parents, husband, William (Bill) Oster; brother, Victor B. Story Sr.; stepson, Stephen H. Oster, and nephew, Terry Story.
Survivors include her daughter, Carol Morrison of Lakeland; son, Joel T. Morrison and wife, Barbara, of Fort Myers; stepdaughter, Catherine Evans and husband, Bill, of Fort Myers; stepdaughter, Christine Oster and husband, Lee Schwartz, of Alexandria, Va.; daughter-in-law, Sharon G. Oster of Texas; grandchildren, John E. Morrison of Edgewater, Susan A. Morrison of Fort Myers, and Margaret E. Agerton of Tallahassee; nephew, Victor B. Story, Jr, and wife, Ann, of Lake Wales and their family; dear family friends, and her beloved dog Rob Roy.
A private family service will be held at a later date.
Those wishing to honor Etheleen’s memory are invited to make a contribution in her name to Good Shepherd Hospice, the Polk County SPCA, or the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home.
Condolences may be made to the family at www.whiddenmcleanfuneralhome.com.
Whidden-McLean Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.