Obituary Record

Harry Rosterman
Died on 6/8/1957
Buried in Blair Cemetery

This long obituary is taken from the collection in the Notebook of Long Obituaries. The original newspaper article can be found in the Blair Library, Genealogy Room.




(picture of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Rosterman)

Harry Raymond Rosterman, 37, met a tragic death Saturday afternoon when he was trapped and burned to death in the million dollar fire which destroyed the Omaha headquarters of the Watson Brothers Transportation Co. in Omaha.

Rosterman, a mechanic, was reported to be working on the second floor of the 4-story building, when the fire started. Two other workmen were siphoning gas from one truck to another on that floor when an explosion occurred. Spraying gasoline quickly set the entire building afire.

Rosterman was part of a skeleton crew Saturday, working in the building at the time.

At first workmen stated they had seen Rosterman outside of the building after the fire started. Later, when his car was found still in its regular parking place and a call to his home in Blair revealed he was not there, a search was started for him.


After the fire was put out a search of the ruins was immediately started and a 2 o’clock Sunday morning the body of Rosterman was found on a stairway between the second and third floor. Rosterman had a deep cut on his head indicating he had been struck by a falling object. His body was buried under three layers of wall.

It was later discovered that Rosterman had gone to the third floor to warn another worker about the fire. The third floor workman jumped from a window and slid down an awning, but Rosterman evidently tried to make his way back down the stairway and was trapped.

Harry Raymond Rosterman was born at Lyons in Burt County, Nebraska January 29, 1920. When he was quite young he, with his father, mother, brothers and sisters moved to Blair which has been his home for nearly 30 years. On June 18, 1949, he was united in marriage to Dorthy Lorraine Smith of Blair, the ceremony taking place at Tekamah. Three children were born to them, Raymond Lynn, age 4, Kathryn Joyce, aged 3, and Dorthy Ann, age 2. Mr. Rosterman was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Blair.


He joined the armed forces May 14, 1942, serving in the Medical Corps. He was with the Medical Corps in the Pacific Theatre from December 1942 until November 1945.

Rosterman was a member of the American Legion, and a member of the Teamsters Union of America.

In addition to his own family, he is survived by his mother, Mrs. Henry Rosterman and by five sisters and three brothers.

The sisters are Mrs. Helen Collins of Blair; Mrs. Ruth Shyman of Chicago; Mrs. Rose Halstead, Oakland, California; Mrs. Goldie Fleary of Lake Charles, La.; and Mrs. Carrie Capehart of Ft. Calhoun. The brothers are Robert of Chicago, Arnold and Don Rosterman of Blair.

Mrs. Rosterman’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Smith and brothers, Tom and Bob, all of Rockford, Illinois, returned to Blair for the funeral services which were held at the First Christian Church in Blair Wednesday afternoon. The Rev. J. D. Johnson conducted the services and burial was made in the Blair cemetery under the direction of the Campbell Mortuary.

Mr. Rosterman, prior to his death, had been employed by the Watson Brothers Company for three years and prior to that had worked for the Denver-Chicago Trucking Co. which once had a terminal in Blair.

Printed in the Washington County Enterprise on 6/13/1957