Alice M. Ousterman passed away on July 6, at Overlook Hospital after a brief illness. She was 94. She was born and raised in Cranford, attended school there and graduated 4th in her class of 198 from Cranford High School in June of 1944.
She began working in retail while in high school. After graduation, she worked as an advertising and publicity copywriter for R. J. Goerke Company in Elizabeth, Kresge in Newark and Koos Brothers in several New Jersey locations. Her work appeared in all major newspapers in the state and even in national magazines.
While working in this field, she began attending Jersey City State College. Her goal was to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. She received a full academic scholarship and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 3.98 GPA. She was a member of both Delta Kappa Gamma and Kappa Delta Pi, national honor societies for education. She then continued to earn her Masters of Education from Rutgers University with a 4.0 GPA in 1966. She also continued her studies to become certified as a Reading Specialist, and a Learning Disabilities Teacher (also a Master's level certification) in 1974, all while working as a teacher.
She began her teaching career in the Plainfield Public School District in 1961 as a classroom teacher for the 3rd grade. In 1965, she became a reading teacher for the same school district. In 1970, she transferred to the Edison Public School District as a Reading Specialist. She taught, evaluated and diagnosed the learning disabled at Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary School and Herbert Hoover Middle School. She felt that teaching was an "avocation', not an "occupation" and was totally devoted to her students and her work. She also believed that she should work at schools where her skills were most needed. She retired from teaching in 1990 after touching many lives in a positive way and was proud of her service.
She was very religious. She was baptized at Trinity Episcopal Church in Cranford. Her family later transferred to the First Presbyterian Church in Cranford. When she finally moved from Cranford to Westfield in 1976, she joined The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. Over the years, she served as a deacon, a two term elder and, in 1991, she became a volunteer receptionist for the church office and also volunteered to assist the coordinator of the church's homeless shelter program. In 1997, she took over the coordinator's position, running the program until 2011, when she retired from that position. She was a regular church goer until the Covid restrictions prohibited attendance. She will be missed by her many friends and fellow parishioners.
She was loved my many and she loved her family and friends. She also passionately loved dogs, especially French poodles. She loved operetta, especially going to the Paper Mill Playhouse for performances. She loved to travel and was all over the United States and Canada. She was fiercely independent and stayed at her home, living by herself since her father passed away in 1988.
She was predeceased by her parents, Walter Sr. and Anna Ousterman, her older sister, Marjorie Alexander, her brother, Walter E. Ousterman Jr. and a nephew, Douglas Ousterman. She is survived by her sister-in âlaw, Virginia Ousterman, Piedmont, CA., her nephews, Todd Corbet (Donna), Chesapeake, Va. Eric Corbet (Kathy), Toms River, NJ, Marc Corbet (Anita), Peachtree City, GA. and nieces Sharon Bittle (Jerry) Crane Hill AL, Diana Scoggins (Hal) Portland, OR, Blythe Ousterman, Novato, CA and her nephew's widow, Katy Ousterman, Moraga, CA as well as numerous great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews around the country.
A service of celebration of her life will be held at a later date at her church. Gray Funeral Home in Westfield is entrusted with the arrangements. Please go to: www.grayfuneralhomes.com to offer condolences.