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In Memory of Philip Lars Ostergard, founding member of BCL and KYL


April 21, 1920 – March 12, 2012

Founding Member of Boys’ Christian League and Kare Youth League Passes Away at Age 91

Philip Ostergard was born in Oregon on April 21, 1920, but it wasn’t long before his father moved the family to East Pasadena where he literally built the house up around the family.

At an early age, Philip developed a love of Bible study and soon he joined Scout Troop 21 whose scoutmaster was Orrick Hampton. Among other things, they enjoyed camping at locations throughout the Angeles National Forest. The love of camping never left Philip Ostergard. He and brother, Francis, were part of the founding group that met in October of 1931 and created the Promise and Laws for a new club of their own that they named Boys’ Christian League.

They formed a Boys’ Bible Band and traveled to perform. Philip remembers giving his first Bible lesson at age 14. The young men in the Bible Band became the youth leaders of new teams in Pasadena and Sierra Madre. A key to success from the beginning was allowing the boys to pursue the things they enjoyed most, so sports soon became a core ingredient.

As Philip pursued a college education that culminated in a Masters Degree in Education from USC, Philip was faced with a life-changing decision. His mentor, Mr. Orrick Hampton moved to Idaho to take an administrative position at a college there. Philip had been left with two other young men to continue running the Boys’ Christian League. But Philip had long dreamed of entering the ministry, and others had encouraged him to do just that. So now he had to choose between a lives devoted to the church and a life devoted to children.

The fact that at that time the League was really struggling made the decision even harder. But convinced that God would have him do it, he chose to serve boys and girls and, as he was heading to the mailbox to mail a letter to Mr. Hampton about this decision, he met him on the way. Orrick Hampton had returned to take charge of the club he had founded.

World War II began and Philip passed on the opportunity for a deferment and a possible future chaplaincy. Instead, he served as a corpsman in the European theater. He felt his time in the service demonstrated that God could help him maintain high moral standards in a challenging environment.

After his return from the service, Philip started the new Boys’ Christian League Atlantic Fleet in Monrovia and Duarte and taught at the old Duarte School. He would teach again when Rio Hondo Preparatory School opened its doors in 1964.

One positive by-product of Mr. Hampton’s sojourn to Idaho was that Philip met the love of his life, Irma Satre. They were married on August 27, 1955. Irma supported Philip in all his endeavors over the years as she taught in the Arcadia schools and piano privately.

In the early 50’s, Boys’ Christian League teams still played in the public parks, but when conflicts arose, Mr. Hampton was determined that his boys should have a place of their own. He took Philip with him to find that spot, and they found land at the end of Farna Avenue in Arcadia that served the area as an unofficial dump. Not much later, Mr. Hampton handed Philip the responsibility to build a youth center there. It was the beginning of finding the hidden engineer within himself and would lead him to building, building and more building. Through those challenges, he witnessed great blessings from his faith in God that over and over brought visible answers to his prayers.

The first block building went up in Arcadia after a donut sale provided the money for the permit. As with future projects, the first building went up as gifts-in-kind were put into hands of willing volunteers. As the first building went up, the need for fields grew and materials and help were needed for those as well.

Philip Ostergard was depended on to find the gifts. There really wasn’t money available to do these projects, but the organization was growing and the need was great. Mr. Ostergard fought through getting concrete pipe to fill huge drainage ditches on the property and then got the pipe installed. When that major task was accomplished it fell to him to get the basketball courts paved and as he did, he dealt with the county on receiving permission to use small strips of land that eventually lead a parking lot for parents.

When part of the club’s land was lost, Mr. Ostergard found the “New Fields” where Sam’s Club now stands in El Monte. Hundreds of boys cleared millions of rocks to make their fields. For Mr. Ostergard it always was always about the eternal lives of the children of Kare Youth League. Camping was at the heart of the early program and it stayed at the heart of Mr. Ostergard.

When Kare Youth League purchased their organizational camp near Wrightwood called Mount Kare, Mr. Ostergard became the one to follow through on building a home for caretakers and the new lodge. He oversaw the building of new cabins and the paving of the access road from the highway to the camp. Mount Kare was always a sacred spot for Mr. Ostergard. He gave the chapel lessons to children until he was well into his eighties.

In his later years, he has authored a book on Abraham Lincoln called “The Inspired Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln” that was published by the Tyndale Press. Philip presented lectures on Lincoln locally and throughout the U.S.

Philip Ostergard is survived by his brother, Francis Ostergard, his sister, Doris Robbins his two daughters, Julene Barrett and Joella Andrisano, and six grandchildren, Jensen, Parker, Hudson, Cooper and Peyton Barrett, and Bailey and Sophia Andrisano.

A graveside service will be held on Thursday, March 15th at 11:00 a.m. at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier – Main Gate.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 18th at 4:00 p.m. in the Stivers Center at Kare Youth League, 5150 Farna Avenue in Arcadia.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations for a fund to help children. Please call 626/442-1160 ext. 115 for arrangements.


The History of Kare Youth League as told by Mr.Philip Ostergard

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We would like to collect as many stories about Mr. Ostergard as we can.
Please take the time to share a story or two by filling in the comment section below.


  1. Tim Lunney on March 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I can’t help but think of Mount Kare whenever I think about Mr. Philip Ostergard. I will always remember his amazing Bible lessons down in chapel along with his visual aids. I remember one time he made a sling shot for the David and Goliath story. He swung it around and actually hit the tree over 100 yards away! I was impressed. I also loved his Bible games in the messhall, especially the one where you pushed a button and the light bulb turned on. Does anyone else remember the lights? I also loved his model of the Bible with all 66 books and the statues of Moses and Jesus. Of course who could ever forget his famous “gobble gobble” story around the campfire or his story of Kwok’s elephant and the 3 flat hyena pancakes! Then that final time of day… lying on my bunk and awaiting his wonderful harmonica. You will be missed Mr. Ostergard!

  2. bill on March 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I’ll never forget the sound of his harmonica!

  3. Diane Parsons on March 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    “Oh my”…I’m afraid to get started telling of the impact Mr. Ostergard has had on my own life as well as our family because it may take too long to tell. The summer of 1981 was my first full time experience as the cook at camp with Mr. Ostergard. It was the summer his chapel lessons were on the armor of God (Ephesians 6;14-18) and my appetite grew to know the word of God more through his knowledge and enthusiasm of the Bible. Summer after summer I had the privilege of listening to him give boys the message of the gospel and the truths from God’s word at Mount Kare. Even in the evenings when the boys had Bible games, he would wear a suit and a tie and made sure the boys behaved as if they were in club meeting, though he loved to see them get excited during the game. (Yes, Tim, I remember the lights!) He was in his element there. He did not take his job lightly in anything he did at camp. He would come early to eat a meal so he could serve the food in line and speak to each one that came through. He encouraged the boys to come talk to him during the day and answer questions by giving them a treat if they did (later, my own children would take advantage of doing this as well.) At campfire, I never got tired of hearing him tell the stories of “Old Mahogany” and his “ooga! ooga!” as Farmer Brown chased after the old fox. Or the story of “Kwok” and the “3 flat hyena pancakes” or Sergeant York and his “gobble! gobble!” when shooting turkeys for target practice. For years, he would hike Mount Baden-Powell with the boys because he wanted to see them “make it to the top” and share the victory with them. One year the snow still covered parts of the trail and we had to hike around it. When we were descending the mountain, I was hiking just ahead of him and I heard a “whooa!” As I looked behind me, Mr. Ostergard had hit a patch of ice and was sliding down it when he hit a tree. How he did not get hurt was only by God’s protection. At night when the boys were going to bed, we could hear him playing his harmonica to settle them down…it was a taste of heaven. Ever since Mr. Ostergard has not been able to come to camps, something has been missing. His presence brought the very presence of God with him. I thank the Lord for the privilege of being at camp during those years when he was there and the impact he made not only on me but especially on Charles and Lindsay. I could tell so much more about Mr. Ostergard, but it doesn’t matter what I have to say, because he has already heard the Lord say to him “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

  4. Terri Cardona on March 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Many days I would be at our children’s sporting events and Mr. Ostergard would be walking and carrying his Bible. He always had such a big smile and filled with joy as he looked around at all of the hundreds of children who’s lives he had touched in some way through KYL. I always stopped to talk with him. He was always so positive and had such a grateful heart.
    My husband and I are so thankful for the path he has laid for our children, Logan , Sierra, and Lance to be given a great foundation through sports and education for their future. We are confident that they will always be impacted by their life that Mr. Ostergard helped to create in KYL. Welcome home Mr. Ostergard! Terri Cardona

  5. Angelica Quintanilla on June 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Every single year at the circus I will make one visit to my friend Philip Ostergard. He so proudly sat in the booth where he would talk about Kare to visitors that came to visit the circus. This year was very sad for me as I did not see him. As I walked around the circus I knew his presence was there.

    Philip Ostergard was my mentor and friend for the past 17 year’s. Every single talk we had was so memorable for me as we talked about the Lord. I miss him and I consider myself so lucky to have had his words stay within me. Some times when I go to Albertson’s I could still picture him siting at a small round time enjoying a cup of coffee which is where I last saw Philip Ostergard.

  6. LOUIS A. LING,M.D. on August 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

    With deep sadness, fond memories I learned of Philip (Mr.) Ostergard”s passing. I was a BCL member and leader in the 1950s.
    Mike Dowd and I were best friends. Mike and I and others who I don”t remember went to the desert to hunt rabbits with Mr. Ostegard as leader. He was studyiing theology at Azusa Bible College and was deep into finals study. He hunted with us, lead before bed devotions and ate canned beans with us. One day it was very cold and snowed on the desert , so Mr. Ostegard took us to a theater in Lancaster and we watched the same movie until tjhe theater closed, just to stay warm. He sat in the back by a light and studied. Those desert trip memories are some of the best I have and could not have been possible without the kind, patient and caring Philip Ostergard, a Man of Faith. May he be with the God he loved and served for ever.