NORMAN — From Kansas City to Norman with stops in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Yale, Oklahoma City and Edmond — looking back as he prepared to mark his 100th birthday today, Allan Oehlschlager termed it a “glorious ride.”
Born April 13, 1914, in Kansas City, Mo., into a German family, Allan spoke German until he was 5. His maternal grandparents were college graduates, his grandfather a circuit minister serving Missouri’s German communities.
Allan attended Kansas City schools and began his college studies at a community college there before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. His degree is from Penn’s Wharton School of Business.
Perhaps a harbinger of his later sales career, at age 16 he bought an old Model T Ford for $15, drove it for a year and then sold it for $18 to four guys who were going to college in Illinois. No surprise that Allan came out of the deal with a $3 profit.
“Big money in those days,” he said.
His first job for a paycheck was in the offices of Swift and Company, the Kansas City meat packer. From there, he want off to Penn and immediately got involved in the community, as he had done in every place he has lived since.
At Penn, he went for a crew and made the 150-pound crew team; joined Mask and Wig, an all-male drama group that put on shows and took them around the area; and served as a senior councilor in a 30-man freshman dorm.
“I was pretty successful with 28 of them, but oh, those other two,” he said.
A New York glue and paper products company recruited Oehlschlager from Penn for a sales job and he was assigned six New England states.
He and his bride set up housekeeping in Hartford, Conn., and his first son was born there. Later, the young family moved to South Windham, Conn., where Allan bought and remodeled a 150-year-old house. Their second son was born in nearby Willimatic.