William Joseph Oertly Obituary

William Joseph Oertly

William “Bill” Joseph Oertly, Jr., native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, unexpectedly passed away on Friday April 17th at the VA hospital in Salem, Virginia. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Pamela, daughter, Heather, who thought of him as her super hero, and step-son Kenny, as well as three grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Bill was the eldest of five (where he took his “big brother” duties very seriously, especially with his youngest sister who he loved to tease due to their fifteen year age difference): first the troublemaker, Lou, then sister’s Louise who’s keen mind could battle wits with Bill, the ever fabulous ‘Gerri, and the so loved, but oh so teased, Margaret. From there he became uncle to ten nieces and nephews. Bill was wonderful with children, finding fun and imagination with his gentle manner and patience; this treatment really extending to anyone he met. He also leaves his beloved cats that are missing him terribly. Bill was born September 14th 1949 to mother Louise Lincoln, and father William “Joe” Joseph Oertly, Sr. in Washington DC. Bill never met a stranger; he could strike up a conversation with anyone. Due to his happy personality, and ability to talk your ear off, if he could best be called anything it would be “story teller”. He loved to talk (learned from his bubbly mother, and a skill his siblings and daughter are apt at as well), learning new things, and having a basic photographic memory for almost any information he’d read. His daughter Heather called him her “walking encyclopedia”, because why look something up when she could call her daddy and get not only the correct answer, but also a more interesting one. He’d tell of not only his historical knowledge, and never ending passion for trains, but also of family, friends (here and gone), and of his beloved cats. If the subject came up, quickly out came the camera to show off his feline children. Bill was a man of many passions, and the most loyal friend anyone could ask for. His largest hobby was model railroading, and having to give himself a challenge he chose the oddest scale to work with: “S” scale. Through this he gained many close friends via work, clubs, etc. One such friendship would last nearly fifty years. They were the best man in each other’s weddings, went on all sorts of train and modeling adventures, working together at the AAR until Bill moved to work for NS. Sadly, Mr. Cataldi passed away suddenly in 2018, leaving Bill sadly missing his best friend. Bill had a life-long love of reading, and this extended not just to history, but to fantasy and classic literature and myths—such as Tales of King Arthur, Beowulf, Sherlock Holmes, etc.—and the books which he would raise his daughter on: JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Bill and Heather could have endless conversations over the world of Middle Earth together. His wife Pam learned to share this by proxy, but is more a fan of a good mystery, which Bill could find to enjoy with her especially after his retirement and they would rent “books on tape” and enjoy a good PI solving the case or an English crime drama with a little old lady as the crime-stopper. Bill worked Hazmat for the Association of American Railroads for many years, his keen memory and work ethic making him indispensible; though he did move on from the AAR later in life to work for Norfolk Southern partially due to these talents. Other railroad fellows, oft from other companies, would “sigh in relief” when they saw Bill had arrived on the scene. After nearly a decade with NS he finally retired, being able to wholly focus on his personal hobbies, and family. He had been sure to instill his love for trains in his daughter, and the two would often go on adventures to photograph, explore and learn as much as they could about Railroads. Heather’s love of steam engines started from early childhood. Even when he was still working and away on trips most week days, he’d always try and include young Heather on any weekend “train excursion” he would be taking. Education was deeply important to Bill, but also the enjoyment of learning it! He volunteered at the Transportation Museum to help keep that going in families and the younger generations. The loss of Bill is like a library burned down. Bill was a gentle soul, kind, always right there when he was needed, or when someone asked for aid. He was truly a man with integrity, and a wonderful husband and father. He will forever be respected, and loved, by his peers, having relied on that photographic memory of Bill’s to know exactly what to do. He was a helper, never asking for a return on his giving, he never wanted anyone or anything to hurt; from his wife and kids, to also the smallest insect or littlest mouse. None would come to any harm on his watch. If any simple thing can be said that all who knew him would agree: Bill was a good man. THERE WILL BE A LIVESTREAM ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE ON SATURDAY AT 2 PM. TO VIEW, CLICK ON THE PHOTOS & VIDEOS TAB THAT'S LOCATED NEAR THE MAIN PHOTO OF THE OBITUARY, GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AND CLICK ON THE WATCH WEBCAST TAB.
September 14, 1949 - April 17, 202009/14/194904/17/2020
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Obituary

William “Bill” Joseph Oertly, Jr., native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, unexpectedly passed away on Friday April 17th at the VA hospital in Salem, Virginia. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Pamela, daughter, Heather, who thought of him as her super hero, and step-son Kenny, as well as three grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Bill was the eldest of five (where he took his “big brother” duties very seriously, especially with his youngest sister who he loved to...

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