When the U.S. entered World War II, the military wouldn’t take fathers of two, so Oehlschlager aimed his sales work to the defense industry. He called it “Smokestack Chasing.”
“Wherever you saw a smokestack, it was probably a defense industry, and they needed paper products,” Oehlschlager said.
But it was in Yale where Oehlschlager “became a real entrepreneur.” His brother, a medical doctor, answered an ad from Yale’s three-story hospital, moved his practice there, started a boysenberry garden and bought a grocery store.
Their parents moved to Yale and Oehlschlager went there on vacation and decided to move to Yale, too. He joined his brother in the grocery and a small ranching operation. It wasn’t long before he bought a drug store and then the variety store across the street.
As he had done in Kansas City, at Penn and in Connecticut, he immediately got involved in the community. He joined Town and Gown in Stillwater and acted in four or five of their productions and was active in a Great Books discussion group.
“Ten ladies and me,” Oehlschlager said.
He helped build a swimming pool and tennis courts for the city that liked to boast itself as “the only town of 1,200 people with paved streets.”
Oehlschlager sold out his Yale stores and moved in 1965 to Oklahoma City, where he started an investment business. He was a financial planner dealing in mutual funds, contracts, oil and gas, and real estate.
“I put together limited partnerships in oil and gas and created Nominee Agreements where I was the nominee and did the work, giving clients a way to get into oil and gas,” Oehlschlager said.
“I’ve been lucky. I looked for a good oil operator with a good reputation, a good philosophy who would be able to stay with it, and I always took a piece of his well along with my clients,” he said.