Chesterton Tribune

Save the Dunes pioneer Ruth Osann dies at 93

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Dune Acres resident Ruth H. Osann, one of the first top officers of the Save the Dunes Council and an active voice for dunes preservation for decades, passed away Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. She was 93.

Born Feb. 4, 1918 in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was the daughter of Robert P. and Helen (Callahan) Hamlyn, both of whom preceded her in death. On Sept. 28, 1940 in Brooklyn, she married Edward Osann, who preceded her in death.

She is survived by her son Edward R. (wife Susan) Osann of Washington D.C.; daughters Anne O. Norton of Granger, Ind., and Ellen O. (Harry) Goff of Lake Wiley, S.C.; grandchildren Ted and Tom Osann, Joe (Stephanie) Norton and Julie (Damian) Villalba; five great grandchildren; and brother Robert C. (Klare) Hamlyn.

Ruth is preceded in death by her son-in-law Gary Norton in 2010.

Ruth was a member of Ogden Dunes Community Presbyterian Church, Alpha Xi Delta Sorority PEO, Girl Scout Leader and Council Board Member, and member of the Save the Dunes Council, Izaak Walton League and the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. She graduated from the Unviversity of Maryland and had served as chair of the Dune Acres Environmental Committee.

In 1971, at the age of 53, Osann ran for the Dunes Acres town board’s Ward 3 as a member of the Environmental Party. In a Chesterton Tribune interview with her, she was asked what she would like to see town government accomplish over the next four years. “The Dune Acres government should be sensitive to individual concerns but should act in the interest of the total community. The relationship between services desired and tax money available should be made clear. The board should keep the residents informed of new industrial facilities proposed and take official action to demand compliance with air and water pollution standards by neighboring industry.”

Osann served as the first vice-president of the Save the Dunes Council and in 1976, was elected president, becoming only the third president of the council after Sylvia Troy and Dorothy Buell.

Charlotte Read, former executive director of the Save the Dunes Council, was working as the administrative head of the organization when Osann was board president. Read recalled how active Osann was, not just with the Save the Dunes Council but with other organizations, such as the Girl Scouts and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Osann was especially interested in doing more to promote the Save the Dunes shop on U.S. 12 in Beverly Shores, Read said.

“She was very involved and worked hard to keep the Save the Dunes Shop viable and going strong,” she said.

Osann’s husband, Ed, was an attorney in the fight against NIPSCO’s proposed Bailly nuclear plant. Read said Ruth actively helped and supported Ed’s endeavors as well. She specifically recalled how their basement was “a repository” for the records of the challenge to the nuclear plant, as well as the Isaak Walton League and other environmental causes.

“She was an active participant in just about everything that affected the Indiana Dunes,” Read said. “She will be missed.”

Memorials may be made to the Save the Dunes Council in remembrance of Ruth. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 6 at the Ogden Dunes Community Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are being handled through the White-Love Funeral Home, 525 South 2nd St., Chesterton. For more information, call White-Love Funeral Home at 926-1309.


Posted 2/22/2011