Arlene Louise (Bjorngaard) Ostermeier, 89, passed away at Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson on March 21, 2021, after a brief illness.

She was born on Feb. 18, 1932, to Peder and Selma Bjorngaard in Wanamingo, Minnesota. She attended country school for eight years and graduated from Wanamingo High School in 1950. Arlene graduated from St. Olaf College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in home economics education. She taught home economics for seven years at junior and senior high schools in Evansville, Litchfield and St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Arlene received her master’s at Michigan State University in December 1962 from the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Related Arts. She completed 27 credits toward a Ph.D. in the department of sociology while she was teaching at Michigan State University.

She married Terry Harlan Ostermeier on May 9, 1964, in East Lansing, Michigan. She taught in the department of home economics at State University College of Buffalo from September 1964 to January 1967.

Arlene and Terry moved to Whitewater in July 1967 where they built a house in the country on a 20-acre wood lot and she devoted herself to raising their two sons. She later was a substitute teacher and taught evening classes for Gateway Technical College. Arlene then worked in several positions at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and retired on July 15, 2000, from the registrar’s office.

She was a co-founder of the Whitewater Gourmet Club in 1970. Her hobbies included cooking, reading political and historical books, and traveling with Elderhostel, which continued her love of learning. Beginning with her two-month tour of Europe during the summer of 1956, Arlene visited more than 20 countries. She participated in many events at the Whitewater Senior Center and lectures at Fairhaven.

Arlene was preceded in death by her mother, Selma; father, Peder; and brother, Norris.

She is survived by her husband, Terry; sons, Marc (Elissa Zurbuchen) and Eric (Melanie Burns); granddaughters, Brita and Sara Ostermeier; brother, Pervin (Lois); and sisters-in-law, Eileen Bjorngaard, Judi Krablien, Boni Otto and Kris Seefeldt.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 Southeast 1st St., Suite 800, Miami, Florida, 33131 (or online at

Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.


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