Giving time has its perks, says Van Oss

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | November 9, 2016

‘You meet some very nice people,’ says longtime Flintville parishioner, volunteer

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]PITTSFIELD — Bud Van Oss speaks from experience when offering words of advice to prospective volunteers.

“If you have time, there is an organization out there that needs your talent,” he said. “You will enjoy it and they will appreciate it. And you meet some very nice people.”

Your Catholic Neighbor: Bud Van Oss (Jeff Kurowski | The Compass)
Your Catholic Neighbor: Bud Van Oss (Jeff Kurowski | The Compass)

Van Oss, a retired bookkeeper, uses his number skills to serve SS. Edward and Isidore Parish in Flintville, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Green Bay East Serra Club.

“After my wife (Jean) died seven years ago, I needed something to get me out of the house,” he explained. “I briefly joined a couple of different organizations, but nothing worked out. Finally, I tried St. Vincent de Paul, and, after experimenting in different areas, I found the perfect fit.”

Van Oss works in data entry in the Green Bay office. Each month, a report is filed to show the people St. Vincent de Paul helped and financial assistance provided.

“Naturally, all the numbers have to balance before the report is sent to the main office,” he said. “I’m happy to work with such a dedicated group of ladies.”

He credits Jean for his service to the Serrans and one of his current efforts at the parish. Van Oss has served as treasurer of the Green Bay East Serra Club since 2000.

“She led the way,” he said. “In fact, she was the treasurer. I did a lot of helping. She wanted me to join and I just didn’t feel like it for some reason. One day, she said, ‘They are looking for a secretary. I would like to be secretary, why don’t you be treasurer?’”

Van Oss finds it rewarding to promote and foster vocations as a member of the Serrans.

“We are very blessed,” he said. “They are turning out great priests in the seminary. Fr. (Daniel) Schuster does a great job as vocation director and Fr. (Richard) Getchel does a great job as our (Serra Club) chaplain.”

Van Oss has been a member of SS. Edward and Isidore Parish for 38 years. He is part of the team that counts the weekend collection. Jean preceded him in that position. He also enters donation information.

Past service at the parish included being project coordinator for the building of the rectory in 1991. “It was built with volunteer labor,” he said. “That was Flintville style, as Fr. Dave Kasperek used to call it.”

Van Oss, who has also assisted the parish with Harvest Fest and the annual rummage sale, is open to doing whatever tasks are needed at the church. He frequently stops by the office after daily Mass to see where he can help.

“If they have a layout for a particular room or if they have numbers they want in the computer about staff, families, individuals, all records, I’ve got some time,” he said. “They are all such nice people. You are just so happy to know them because they are so pleasant. Fr. Dave Hoffman and the staff are my second family. They have a way of making me feel that what I do is so important.”

A career working with numbers was not initially the path for Van Oss. He grew up on Main Street on the east side of Green Bay. His family owned both a grocery store and a west side farm. Following graduation from Central Catholic High School in 1943, Van Oss served two years in the Army Air Corps before returning home to work for his father.

“He was a cattle dealer. I worked for him until I was 22 and decided that I was going to starve if I stayed in that profession, so I took a job at Hoida Lumber as a bookkeeper. I started at $19 per week. I worked there for 40 years. The company grew. I was operations manager at the end, but I never let go of the books. I retired in 1988.”

In addition to his number skills, Van Oss also shares his singing talents at SS. Edward and Isidore as a member of the choir. He began singing in the children’s choir at St. Willebrord Parish in Green Bay. He attended grade school at St. Willebrord, where he earned a four-year scholarship to a Catholic high school. He spent his first two years at Abbot Pennings High School before Catholic Central opened.

In 1950, he and Jean joined St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Green Bay where he sang with the men’s choir. In 1980, he joined the Baylander Barbershop Chorus and was a part of the group for 33 years.

“Singing four-part a cappella is challenging, but rewarding,” said Van Oss. “It taught me the fine art of singing with a great bunch of guys.”

Van Oss is the father of five. One of his daughters died two and a half years ago. He has another daughter and three sons. His family also includes 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. In addition to his volunteer service, he enjoys playing cribbage and number games. He also stays busy taking care of his large yard. He plans to serve as long as possible and is thankful for his many opportunities and the people he has met.

“God had his plan,” he said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]

Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Bud Van Oss
Parish: SS. Edward and Isidore, Flintville
Age: 90
Favorite saint: Joseph
Words to live by: “Lord not my will but thine be done.”
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