Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
With deep sadness and shock, our family shares the passing of Craig Ostrom, 62, of Howard County, Maryland. He will always be remembered as a golfer, a brilliant mind, a hard worker, and, most of all, a devoted family man.
He was born in 1960, the third of four children, to Belton C. and Betty M. Ostrom in Chicago, Illinois. Craig was predeceased by his parents and his older brother, Tad, and often mentioned how much these beloved family members inspired and shaped his life. At age 11, he took Jesus as his personal savior, vowing to live his life with gratitude and awe.
Craig valued hard work and, at age 9, started working hodgepodge jobs. He recounted with delight that, in his youth, he bought himself a train set, wrapped it, and opened it on Christmas morning, along with his family gifts. Throughout his school years, Craig mastered many extracurricular activities, including swimming (placed 2nd in Illinois), judo (and nunchaku), wrestling, football, and baseball. Math and science came too easily to him, and he received a scholarship to Rice University, but his father wanted him to live closer to home. Ultimately, he went to Valparaiso University for his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (1985). In college, Craig swam and was a yearbook photographer. During the summers he earned money as a house painter to finish putting himself through school. Most importantly, Valparaiso is where he met his wife, Sally. The two of them were introduced through a mutual friend on Halloween and had a chance meeting several weeks later. Craig wooed Sally with his rendition of his mom’s chicken & rice recipe (unfortunately, some of the rice sat on top of the chicken, making it inedible) and the rest is history – 35 years of marriage.
After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Craig’s career in computer science started in Indiana (his first job out of college involved designing tools for 2D and 3D images, including the Disney film, “Journey of the Navigator”), then he moved back to Chicago (where he worked on medical imaging technology), and, subsequently, he and Sally moved to Maryland (in 1987). His early Maryland projects involved satellite imaging, GPS, database systems, and routing/ scheduling. In 1996, he obtained his Master’s in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Throughout his career, he usually worked for consulting companies and, for a time, created and worked for his own software consulting company. His career culminated in a four-page resume of extensive experience (including familiarity with over 40 coding languages). Ultimately, Craig was a highly technical System/ Software Architect with in-depth experience in state-of the-art development tools, client-server/ web implementations, automation, and object-oriented analysis. He worked in all phases of system/ software development. His skills were sought after and valued.
In his personal life, Craig built a beautiful family with his wife. They have two daughters: Olivia and Kirsten. From their births, he was a very involved father, taking them to father-daughter dances, teaching them skills, supporting their interests, and bringing fun and creative activities to everyday life. Craig often remarked how proud he was of Olivia and Kirsten- the people they are today and have been throughout their lives, their accomplishments, and the joy they brought to his life. More recently, Craig also became a father figure to Olivia’s husband, Maxwell Finn. They loved working on projects and spending time together. Craig was a selfless, outstanding person who exhibited strong morals, was always willing to help others, and was always there for his family. Specifically, he made sure his family felt safe, protected, and secure. When asked what he was most proud of, he said, “providing for my girls.”
Craig’s favorite hobby was golf. He derived significant joy from the comradery and friendships he made throughout his golfing career. His golf groups often referred to him as “The Beast” (and some friends affectionately called him “Craig-E boy”). Early on, Craig recognized that he was a talented golfer, but he put family and work first. Over the last 20 years, he accumulated significant golf accomplishments: he won many Championship Flight trophies, as a team, a partner, and as an individual. While his specific accomplishments are too numerous to list, what he loved about golf was the fun of playing, the honor of the game, the personal challenge of improving his game, and the amazing friendships. Several exciting highlights included winning/placing at numerous Maryland Free State Golf Association tournaments (including Gross Grand Champion team three years in a row), playing on the 2012 Senior National AM Golf Channel Tour, and providing security at the 2022 Masters Tournament. In 2017, Craig went from last to first place at an MSGA tournament (and although he could not finish the play-off due to a work obligation) this turn in the game represented his mental strength and talent. Additionally, every year, he brought home the Thanksgiving prize turkey (which his family loved). Craig developed his own personal style that could be seen across the green. He enjoyed sporting his colorful golf shoes (from his family), soft-brimmed hat, and collection of shirts from his favorite courses. If you found his ball, you would discover one of many unique, personalized messages!
Craig loved to travel, including a summer in Puerto Rico at 18, work travel, many trips for golf (in an effort to play the top 100 courses), and, most importantly, memorable family vacations throughout his lifetime. More than travelling, he loved to come home to eat meals prepared by Sally, spend time with his family and cats, play games (card games, video games), read, watch shows (tv, anime, movies), and tend to his home, yard, and pond. There was not a home project he could not handle, and, thanks to the creativity and vision of his loving wife, the list was bottomless.
As a person, Craig was optimistic, joyful, “clevah,” funny, and steadfast. His family admired his wholesome confidence. Whenever our family went on a museum or historical site tour, Craig would often interject (and sometimes correct the tour guide). Craig had an incredible memory, and this served him throughout his life. He was always surprising his family with his skills, even days before his passing he revealed that he was learning to speak another language in his free time. We will miss his smile, hands, and hugs. Craig will also be deeply missed by his (many) close friends that loved him. He was a significant contributor to society and was very patriotic. Our family is so proud of him and considers him a hero. He lived his life with honor and integrity.
On September 29, 2023, Craig suddenly passed away from a heart attack. His immediate family is devastated but comforted that they were by his side and did everything they could. He is survived by his wife, Sally, and his children, Olivia and Kirsten. He is also survived by his sisters, Tracé Thompson and Kelli Ostrom. The Ostrom family will be holding a Celebration of Life on Sunday, October 15, 2023, from 4-7 PM at the Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P.A. in Clarksville, Maryland.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations may be made to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). https://www.jdrf.org/donate/