I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
Home | Columns |
Photos | Books
| Biography | Links
Overcoming adversity with a healthy lifestyle
By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................August 14, 2012
When I saw the title of a talk by DeWitt Osgood last week,
Why Physical Fitness Is Worth It, I made sure to
attend. He was talking to a group of seniors that meets weekly
at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center.
I have gotten to know him since he moved to Oak Crest a few years
ago with his late wife Betty. DeWitt has overcome adversity and
is a living example of good health. In his mid-90s, he is in
better physical shape than me and many others even younger.
DeWitt lost a leg while in junior high school more than 80 years
ago, but has never been slowed by that misfortune. But his talk
last week was about the value of daily exercise, weight control
and diet, something all of us need to take seriously. He is a
vegetarian and explained his rationale for eating grains, fruits,
vegetables and other foods that provide protein.
DeWitt Osgood lost a leg while in junior high school
more than 80 years ago, but has never been slowed by that misfortune.
He prefers this pair of wooden crutches which he has used for
many years (Photos provided)
I was intrigued by his presentation, so I met with him later
to learn more about his life. Born in 1917, DeWitt was one of
five children, all of them still alive, now in their 80s and
90s. His father was a medical doctor early in life but changed
careers to become a Seventh-day Adventist minister in Iowa.
DeWitt and his siblings walked more than a mile to school every
day and he did so on crutches. The family of seven had to survive
on his fathers church salary, and DeWitt worked his way
through college, mainly by selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door,
managing to get up and down porch steps with his artificial limb
He eventually landed a job as manager of the Chamber of Commerce
in Rochelle in the early 1950s, and in 1954 was recruited to
take the same position in DeKalb. He got here just in time to
organize the communitys centennial celebration and then
50 years later played a major role in the citys sesquicentennial
After a couple of years with the Chamber here, he decided to
go into business for himself, establishing Osgood Realty. He
said at first he almost went broke because when clients realized
he had to use crutches to get around they didnt want him
to take them through a house with stairs or a basement.
At that point he turned to the business people he had known through
the Chamber for help, and they gladly referred clients to him,
first explaining his handicap was not a deterrent. His business
grew after that.
DeWitt still drives and also takes an hour walk both morning
and afternoon. He said it is best to get your heart rate elevated
by spending the first 45 minutes walking briskly and then taking
a little break.
I called one of his daughters, Cheryl, who lives out west in
Oregon, and asked what else she could tell me about her dad.
She said he has always been community-minded, serving as a district
governor for Rotary International and holding elected positions
on both the DeKalb Park District Board and DeKalb County Board
Also the DeKalb Area Association of Realtors has named an exemplary
service award in his honor. Not bad for a preachers kid
who overcame adversity to become quite a success story.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115