Jared ‘Jed’ Ostermann


Among his many talents, Jared Ostermann was a remarkable collector.

He collected beer cans, snowmobiles, toy tractors and many other mechanical things, but he valued something in his treasure trove even more: friends.

From childhood on, the former Grafton resident earned a reputation as a quiet, unassuming person — a fellow best known as Jed who could be counted on in a time of need.

“We always joked that Jed collected people because he knew so many of them,” his sister Kassie Passineau said.

“Someone would ask him how they could get help with something, and he would say, ‘Hey, I know somebody who can do that for you.’”

Mr. Ostermann’s generous side gained him many friends and made his death last week all the more shocking. He was only 51 when he died of a heart attack Wednesday, Jan. 2, at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton.

Although he was a resident of Allenton the past three years, Mr. Ostermann spent most of his life in Grafton. The son of Jerry and Sharon Foust Ostermann, he was born April 23, 1967, in Port Washington and grew up in Grafton, where he attended public schools and graduated from Grafton High School in 1985.

After studying agribusiness for two years at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Mr. Ostermann switched gears. He attended Moraine Park Technical College and earned a journeyman’s card as a tool and die maker, remaining in that profession the rest of his life.

Most recently, he was employed as a machinist at Strattec in Milwaukee.

When he wasn’t operating machines at work, Mr. Ostermann made them a focal point in his hobbies. He was a longtime member of several snowmobile clubs, including local groups Snow Runners Ltd. and Kohlsville Kruisers.

Mr. Ostermann was active in the clubs’ trail grooming operations and helped organize the Snow Runners’ annual Vintage Show and Run as well as a 50-year anniversary celebration for owners of Bolens’ Diablo Rouge snowmobiles. The latter event, held in January 2017 in Port Washington, attracted hundreds of people from throughout North America and abroad.

Sharon Ostermann recalled her son putting in considerable work to plan the reunion and ensure its success. “He and other snowmobilers really liked the Diablos. I think it took three years to organize the event because it was such an international thing,” she said.

A major source of pride for Mr. Ostermann and his mother was building a house they shared on a wooded parcel near Allenton. Several years ago, they moved into the home after living for decades in Grafton.

“We purchased the land, and Jed designed the house,” his mother said. “He started collecting wood from trees to use for cabinets and other parts of the house, and got a lot of his friends to help with different parts of the construction.”

Family members recalled how much Mr. Ostermann’s work habits and hobbies reminded them of his late father. Both were known for their mechanical aptitudes, generosity and reluctance to step into the spotlight when it came to accepting praise.

“Jed was always willing to help out, but he always wanted to be behind the scenes,” his brother-in-law Cory Passineau said. “He didn’t want to be the guy who was taking credit for anything.”

A hands-on approach in helping was one of Mr. Ostermann’s most admirable qualities, his brother-in-law noted: “If you asked Jed if you could borrow one of his tools, he didn’t just give it to you to use. He would say, ‘I’ll come over and take care of it for you.’

“They talk about the ‘shirt off your back’ kind of thing, and that was Jed.”

A lifelong bachelor, Mr. Ostermann was also known for his love of animals, particularly dogs. The ashes of his longtime pet canine Harley will be buried with him. His surviving pets include a dog Maddie Mae and a cat Lucky, a stray he took in.

Among his closest family members, Mr. Ostermann is survived by his mother, sister Kassie (Cory) Passineau, nephews Jakob and Cody Passineau and niece Amanda Passineau, all of Allenton. He was preceded in death by his father.

Mr. Ostermann donated major organs of his body to the Wisconsin Donor Network. In his memory, contributions to the family, the network and participation in its registry program are suggested.

A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton. Visitation will be at the church from 11 a.m. until the service. A fellowship gathering in the church hall will follow the service.

Burial will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, at Zur Ruhe Cemetery in Cedarburg.

In honor of Mr. Ostermann’s favorite clothes, people attending the service are asked to wear flannel shirts.

Mueller Funeral Home of Grafton is assisting the family.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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