Ronald James Omslaer, age 79, formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, passed away on Friday, July 16, 2021 in Palms of Pasadena Hospital, St. Petersburg, Florida.
A resident of St. Petersburg, Florida since 2011, he spent his childhood and most of his adult life in Sewickley, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh). He attended Avonworth High School and, while still attending school, started working in his family’s fifth-generation demolition business, Omslaer Wrecking Company and Salvage. Much of his work helped with the renaissance of Pittsburgh that started in the mid 1980’s. Interestingly, film producers (for both movies and commercials) often frequented his salvage yard to stage their film sets. In fact, in 1990, the iconic family business was featured in a full-page article in the Pittsburgh Press. He and his wife successfully ran this well- known family business until they retired in 2009. Upon their retirement, they sold the business and the new owners kept the Omslaer name due to its prominence in Pittsburgh.
Preceded in death are his parents, Robert Clyde, and Lois Mildred (Jenkinson) Omslaer. He is survived by his childhood sweetheart and wife of 58 years, Lois Jean (Batykefer) Omslaer; daughter, Rhonda Omslaer and her children, Jacob and Abigail Warchola; son, Robert John Omslaer; and sister, Jacqueline “Jackie” Smith, and her husband George.
Family members and close friends will be celebrating his life with a luncheon on (what would been his 80th birthday) July 22, 2021.
To provide a brief picture of Ronald Omslaer please see the following family tributes:
From his Wife:
What an incredible life I have had because I had the honor of sharing it with my beloved, Ron for nearly 58 years. He was my whole life and I cannot imagine being without him. We share two wonderful children; Rhonda and John and two amazing grandchildren; Jacob and Abigail.
Ron often told me he did not know what he would do without me because I did everything for him (which I would do again). When I would go out without him in our later years (when he was too ill to go), his famous line (liberated from a television show) was, “Be careful out there.” He even said this to us during his last days at the hospital. He was easy-going, genuinely liked everyone, and loved talking to people.
We spent most of our lives living in Sewickley, PA until moving to Florida in St. Petersburg in 2011 to be close to our daughter and grandchildren as well as enjoy the warm weather and sunshine.
Ron and I had some wonderful times together especially when we traveled to many of the Caribbean islands together. I will miss his sense of humor and always saying, “Hey Lo” when he wanted my attention. The kids thought my nickname was “Halo.”
So many wonderful years have now come to an end and all I have now are the memories to keep me going. Ron, I loved you with all my heart and would not have changed a thing in all our years together. One day I will join you and we will be together forever.
From his Daughter
All cliches aside, my Dad was truly the kindest, most generous person I have ever known. He was also quite the jokester and very funny. He never met a stranger because everyone he met instantly thought of him as a friend. He was my brother’s and my best friend, and it is difficult for us to imagine the rest of our lives without him. I can still see his smile and hear him laugh – a loud infectious laugh that used to make us hide our faces in movie theaters. Even during his last days in the hospital, he was still making the nurses and all of us laugh.
One of my fondest childhood memories was waiting for him to come home from work every day. I would run out to his car and greet him so I could hold his hand, carry his lunch box, and ask about his day. He always saved a treat for me in his lunch box ─ but the real treat for me was spending time with him.
He was an extremely generous and first-rate “gift giver” – always buying the biggest and best of everything. We are grateful we had Christmas 2020 together because he was so happy with the special gifts, he picked out for each of us. Of note, he especially loved his grandchildren and spoiled them accordingly.
My Dad helped shape who I am today by teaching me valuable life lessons that I share with my children and perhaps others can benefit from …
Always Do Your Best
I have always been my own worst critic so when I was upset with myself for not receiving an A+ or 110 percent, my Dad would ask, “Did you do your best?” I would reply, “Yes, of course.” He would say, “No one can ask you to give more than your best. So, if you really gave it your best and it was not good enough then you need to move on because whomever wants more is not good enough for you.”
Be kind to everyone (even if you do not like them) and do not burn bridges behind you because you cannot predict where you will end up in life and what part that person might play in it.
Sadness Will Pass
When I was a little girl and feeling sad my Dad would always say, “You are sad now, but you will be glad again.” My Dad, a bit of a jokester, was always creating rhymes and trying to make me laugh. I would reply, “That’s not funny, Dad.” He would say, “Seriously, the sun will come up tomorrow, you will hear the birds singing, and you will eventually be happy again, I promise – it will pass.” He was usually right … so, with this in mind, one of these days when the sun comes up (way before me) and I hear the birds singing - I will smile when I think of him and hopefully be happy again. As a side note, my Dad loved birds and used to feed them whenever he had the chance (without regard to signs forbidding it). So, the next time the sun is out, and you hear the birds singing – think of my Dad and smile.
Those wishing to honor his life can consider making a donation to the American Lung Association (as he suffered with chronic lung disease for many years): click on Ways To Give, or the American Lung Association. To plant a tree in memory of Mr. Omslaer click on The Gifted Tree
The care of Mr. Omslaer and his family has been entrusted to David C. Gross Funeral Home in St. Petersburg.