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SEPT. 3, 1924 -- NOV. 1, 2004

Joseph J. Oberkrieser of Hamburg, a retired Orchard Park High School chemistry teacher who was a leader in his field, died Monday in Cleveland Clinic after a six-month illness. He was 80.

Born in Brooklyn, he earned his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Hofstra University and his master's degree from Columbia University Teachers College.

He served in the Army during World War II with the 82nd Airborne Division and was seriously wounded during the invasion of the Netherlands in October 1944. He was hospitalized for 18 months and was awarded the Purple Heart. Later, he joined the New York State Guard, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Mr. Oberkrieser joined the Orchard Park faculty in 1949, teaching chemistry, physics and biology. Later, he was assigned to teach Regents chemistry and Advanced Placement chemistry. He retired in 1988.

He filmed the Orchard Park varsity football and basketball games for many years and served 37 years as coach of the varsity rifle team, from its inception until he retired. He served four terms as president of the Orchard Park Teachers Association.

His classroom work led to several instructional books. He was the author of the workbook "Chemical Arithmetic" and the textbook "Concepts in Modern Chemistry." He also was co-author of the laboratory manual "Investigations in Modern Chemistry."

Named a fellow by the Science Teachers Association of New York State in 1968 for his contributions to science education, he was the association's president in 1970. In the late 1970s, he spent two summers in Albany as one of two writers assigned to revise the syllabus for Regents chemistry.

Mr. Oberkrieser also took part in grant-funded research at Case-Western Reserve University, Canisius College, the University at Buffalo, the University of Massachusetts, Hope College and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

He was a past commander of Orchard Park Post 6247, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a member of Orchard Park Post 567, American Legion; Niagara Frontier Chapter, 82nd Airborne Division Association; and the 504th and 505th Parachute Infantry Association.

He also was a member of Disabled American Veterans and the Military Order of the Purple Heart and was a life member of the National Rifle Association. He served for many years as a hunting safety instructor.

He also was master of ceremonies for Orchard Park's Memorial Day celebration for many years. He spent 15 years researching family genealogy in Europe and the United States, completing it during his retirement. He also enjoyed photography.

Until moving to Hamburg three years ago, he raised rabbits and showed them at the Erie County Fair and local rabbit shows, winning numerous ribbons.

Surviving are his wife of 58 years, the former Dorothy Hutchings; two daughters, Susan Byers of Hamburg and Lynda Krajewski of Attica; three sons, Joseph H. of Windham, N.H., William of Oshkosh, Wis., and John of South Wales; and 10 grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 8304 Cole Road, Colden. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, Orchard Park.


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