Ralph Ostling was born in Roscommon in 1927. He attended Gerrish Higgins High School and upon graduating, he served in the United States Navy for a year. Ralph then attended Central Michigan University and graduated in 1952. He went on to complete his masters’ degree from the University of Michigan.
Ralph married Thela Dean in East Tawas in 1947. He was a teacher and coach at Gerrish-Higgins High School for 20 years. He was also the clerk for Gerrish Township from 1957 until 1972 and served in the Michigan Legislature from 1973 until 1993. He was a life member of the Charles M. Engel VFW Post 4159 and the longest standing member of the Messiah Lutheran Church at the time of his death.
Ralph was known for his greetings of “glad to see you”, or “hey, how are you doing”. His broad smile and healthy handshake made an instant impression and let you know that he was a person who cared and would listen. Ralph Ostling was our State Representative for 20 years, who championed many causes affecting his constituents and became a voice in Lansing before he left office in 1993.
Ralph served his community well during his 82 years; his diligence helped make him an effective leader and representative. His community, including all of Roscommon County, still benefits to this day from his service, and we will always remain indebted to him.
Students applying for the Ralph Ostling Memorial Scholarship must be a graduating student of Roscommon High School with a GPA of C+ (2.3) or better, and demonstrate financial need.