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Voelker was devoted to flying, county parks

Oscar Voelker, a man who was always ready to go flying and was equally dedicated to the county’s park system, died Friday morning, Feb. 11, 2005, at Autumn Woods Health Campus in New Albany. He was 85.
‘He just loved to fly,’ recalled Parvin Baumgart of Lanesville, who worked as an air traffic controller with his friend and mentor. The two also flew together in a reserve unit.
‘He was born to do that,’ said Baumgart, 75, adding that Voelker, 10 years his senior, is the one who taught him to fly when he was 16. ‘He was excellent as a pilot.’
And Voelker shared that love with others. He thought nothing of hopping in his plane and flying with friends to French Lick for a meal.
In 1964, Voelker organized the Lanesville Aeroclub Inc. as a means ‘to promote aviation in this area,’ he said in 1977 in an article in this newspaper. Baumgart said Voelker offered members free pilot instruction.
Voelker was a former Air Force reserve pilot for 23 years who ferried planes around the country during World War II. He’s sat at the controls of about 45 different types of air craft.
Flying wasn’t Voelker’s only love.
‘He was very active in civic affairs,’ Baumgart said. ‘He was a giving person.’
Voelker was a charter member of the Harrison County Park Dept., formed in 1965. He served 27 years on the board before retiring in 1992. During his tenure, 550 acres were developed into park land that didn’t cost the county anything.
Voelker became afflicted with Alzheimer’s, and Baumgart said he didn’t visit his friend as often as he should.
‘It hurt me to visit him,’ he said. ‘I’m going to miss him terribly.’
Voelker was a farmer and a real estate agent for Century 21. His other memberships include St. John’s Lutheran Church and Corydon Rotary Club. He was also an officer for the Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation District.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Hilda Voelker, and a daughter, Janet Voelker.
Survivors include four sons, Kenneth Voelker of Bloomingdale, Ill., Robert Voelker of Clarksville, and Dennis and Darrell Voelker, both of Lanesville; two daughters, Carolyn Voelker of Lanesville and Linda Hill of Platte City, Mo.; two brothers, Martin Voelker of Lanesville and Donald Voelker of New Haven; a sister, Norma Blank of Lanesville; 14 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
The funeral was Monday at St. John’s Lutheran Church with burial in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lanesville. Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon handled the arrangements.
Pallbearers were Craig Hill, Joseph Voelker, David Voelker, Eric Voelker, Doug Lindstrom, Keith Kuligowski, Curt Johnson and Matthew Voelker.
The family suggests memorial gifts to his church or to the Alzheimer’s Association.