David Lee Oetman, 61

Major David Lee Oetman (USAF, retired) completed his final mission June 22, 2018, as he passed away at home in Crestview, Fla., surrounded by his family (devoted wife Erika Oetman, sons Kyle Oetman, Josh Oetman, Patrick Oetman, Matt Goodman, and daughter Tori Goodman). Dave handled a long battle with cancer the same way that he lived—with quiet strength and dignity.

Dave was born Sept. 19, 1956. He grew up on a farm in Watson Township with parents Jerry and Illene Oetman, and siblings Debi (Chris) Kraft, Mike (Donna) Oetman, Kathy (Jon) Rockwood, and Joni (John) VanNieuwenhuyzen, all of whom survive.

His strong work ethic began there on the farm, with Dave handling all his chores with a keen sense of responsibility, from milking cows to baling hay, to raising 4-H award winning pumpkins. 

Dave’s leadership qualities were evident early on, as he was an active participant in extra-curricular activities at Martin High School, where he graduated in 1974. He was elected Senior Class president and was “captain” for many of the sports teams on which he excelled. Dave attended Adrian College and WMU, earning a degree in math education. 

His distinguished military career spanned over 20 years, five states, and seven USAF bases. He served with honor as a B52 Navigator and Bombardier, a Combat Student Training Instructor, and a Strategic Command Officer, eventually earning the rank of Major before retiring from Langley AFB in 2002. He continued to be employed as a government contractor until recently at Eglin AFB in Florida.  

Dave was devoted to his family, and service to his country and his church were his other top priorities. He married Erika Goodman on Oct. 27, 2007. His strong Christian faith led him to Crosspoint Methodist Church, where he enjoyed helping with children’s ministries and missions.

Dave enjoyed woodworking, running, fishing, golf and nearly all sports. He especially looked forward to an annual fishing trip to the Two-Hearted River in Michigan’s U.P.  He took great pride in everything he did, and Dave was definitely a source of pride to his family and friends.

Funeral services were June 29 in Florida. The family is hosting a celebration of David’s life on Saturday, July 28, at 12 noon at the Otsego VFW. Friends and family are invited to attend to share memories of Dave, followed by refreshments.

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