They came to the Carafa Funeral Home and Our Lady of Grace Church from all points in Chelsea – city leaders, friends, associates, firefighters, teachers – to say good-bye to one of its most illustrious citizens, George Francis Ostler Sr.
A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, Mr. Ostler became a Chelsea firefighter, rising to rank of lieutenant before his retirement after 30 years in the department.
“I was fortunate to have worked with Lt. Ostler for a period of time while assigned to the 883 Broadway Fire Station,” said retired Chief Louis Addonizio, who was at the Our Lady of Grace church for the funeral Mass. “His work ethic, dedication, and commitment were outstanding. He set a great example. He was a true gentleman, firefighter, and historian and set a great example for the other firefighters in the department.”
Mr. Ostler was the city’s official historian and was often called upon to speak about Chelsea’s glorious past. He took much pride in the accomplishments his well-known daughter, Dr. Mary Bourque, a Chelsea High graduate who became the superintendent of Chelsea public schools. Dr. Bourque, too, brought credit to the Ostler name, with Chelsea becoming a model for other urban school districts during her distinguished career.
It was Mr. Ostler’s proud grandson, Patrick Manning, who delivered a beautiful, heartfelt eulogy at the Mass at Our Lady of Grace.
“My grandfather was many things to many people,” said Manning. “To me, he was a larger-than-life figure with a life story that seemed fit for a superhero.”
Mr. Manning recounted his grandfather’s heroic military service during World War II and how the other Ostler brothers also served gallantry for the country.
“He returned home and began the next chapter in his life – working as a butcher at the local A&P, and of course, marrying Mary Lally.
They had a very small family by Ostler standards with five children, though that has since grown to 15 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Nana and Grampa were a model of what a relationship should be,” said Mannng.
Mr. Manning lauded his grandfather’s ability to weave a tale and enchant an audience.
“Grampa is without a doubt the best storyteller that I have ever met,” he said. “He had a huge wealth of knowledge and a great sense of humor. Of course, any story he told was bound to have a connection to Chelsea.”
George Ostler loved Chelsea and talking about Chelsea, as all who knew him would tell you.
“His love of Chelsea must be in the genes, as all of his children worked or lived in Chelsea and have continued his tradition of giving back to the community,” said Manning.
Mr. Manning spoke of his grandfather’s sense of humor, often delighting the family at gatherings with his one-liners and jokes.
Mr. Manning said his grandfather, George Ostler, was a constant source of joy, warmth, and love in his life.
“This has been a tough week,” said Manning. “But in the end, we are all very lucky to have something in our life that is so hard to say goodbye to.
“Grampa, thank you for everything. For the life you lived, for the wisdom you shared, and for the love you gave us,” concluded Patrick Manning.
It was clear that the gift of eloquence and of words making a positive impact in a person’s life had been passed on to Mr. Ostler’s loving grandson.