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Obituaries: Japp; Oster

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John E. Japp, Sr.

John E. Japp, Sr.: 1936 – 2024

John E. Japp, Sr., age 88, of Bar Nunn, WY, passed away on May 28, 2024, in Spearman, Texas. He was born on February 18, 1936, in Gillette, Wyoming to Ernest and Elsie (Schuett) Japp.

John is survived by his three children: John (Penny) Japp, Jr., Gillette, Wyoming, Jacqueline (Chris) Brewer of Newport News, Virgina, and Julie (Scot) Martin of Spearman, Texas; his grandchildren: Aaron Brewer, J.R. (Timber) Japp, Nikki (Brian) Halpain, Garrett (Heather) Martin, Stuart Martin, and Malory (Jace) Foster; his nine great-grandchildren; his only sister, Ruth (Harry) Wolff of Gillette, Wyoming; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved wife, Juanita.

John graduated from Campbell County High School in 1954 and attended Mechanics School at Casper College. He met Juanita Reust of Guymon, Oklahoma, at the First Baptist Church in Casper, and she became his bride of 60 years. Together, they owned and operated Big “J” Coin & Antiques for many years. In the late 1970s, John attended auctioneering school in Kansas City and soon ended his 23-year career as a USPS letter carrier to pursue his calling as a full-time estate auctioneer, with business locations in Casper and Gillette.

John and Juanita were founding and lifetime members of the Casper Antique & Collector’s Club, the Casper Coin Club, and the Wyoming Auctioneer’s Association. John was also a lifetime member of A.CT.R.A. and the NRA. He was highly respected for his honesty and integrity in the auction business and was well-known for his quick wit and humor during bid calling. For over 40 years, he graciously volunteered his services to call a wide variety  benefit auctions in the Casper and surrounding areas. John was an avid collector of Wyoming tokens, license plates, and books, and possessed a profound knowledge of Wyoming history.

To John, a good day was any day spent in Wyoming, particularly if it involved fishing (though he didn’t favor eating them). His grandchildren looked forward to hearing him repeat the true story of his pet prairie dog, Clarissa, as well as any of his fabled tales. He was such a compelling storyteller and trickster that sometimes it was hard to discern his true tales from the deceptively convincing ones. Time spent in John Japp’s presence was always time well spent.

A funeral service to bid adieu will be held on June 13, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. at Boyd Avenue Baptist Church in Casper, Wyoming. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Casper Meals on Wheels or the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper.

Arrangements are under the care of Bustard’s Funeral Home.

Harley James Oster

Harley James Oster: 1946 – 2024

Harley James Oster was born on May 14, 1946 in Mobridge, South Dakota to John and Irene (Pfeifle) Oster. Harley grew up in Java, South Dakota until the family settled in Spearfish, South Dakota. Harley graduated from Spearfish High School in 1964. He attended some college before enlisting in the US Air Force. He served in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged from the Air Force in July 1970.

Harley married Karen (Haeger) Oster on April 4, 1981. Harley and Karen had two children, Chrissy and DJ. The family lived in rural Rozet, Wyoming for nine years and then moved to Gillette, Wyoming in 1991.

Harley worked for the coal mines and retired in 2008. Harley and Karen made their first move to Florida upon his retirement. This was the first of many moves for Harley and Karen until they finally settled in Sturgis, South Dakota in 2021. Harley was a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church when they finally settled back in Sturgis.

Harley enjoyed among many things, family gatherings, watching his tv shows and sports, but most of all Harley is known for his love of fishing. He traveled to Canada, Australia, Florida for fishing as well as almost all the lakes in the Black Hills region and northeast Wyoming. Harley not only fished, but he told many fish “stories”- maybe one or two were true.

Harley passed away peacefully in his home on June 5, 2024. Harley was preceded in death by his dad and mom. Harley is survived by his wife of 43 years, Karen; and his children: Christina “Chrissy” (Chris) Fergen and David “DJ” (Brandi) Oster; seven grandchildren: Hailey, Brady, Alana, Isaac, Stevie, Charlotte, and Callie. He is also survived by his four siblings: Arlene (Roger) Kromarek, Sylvia (Ron) Hanson, Bruce (Cheryl) Oster, and Jerry (Laura) Oster; and many nieces and nephews whom Harley loved.