Sunday, March 22, 2015

Never Too Old To Learn: Nola Osch

After worship today Rachelle and I shared a meal with Lt. Col. Paul "Slew" Vicars, his wife Marti, and their three boys (Levi, Cash and Knox). One of the advantages of ministering at Emmanuel Enid is the privilege of getting acquainted with interesting people like the Vicars. Paul is the commander responsible for training future Air Force fighter pilots at Vance Air Force Base, a former F-16 fighter pilot himself, and an intellectual with a passion for history. It's my privilege to serve as an honorary commander at Vance this year, and it is with Lt. Col. Vicars and his fighter training squadron to whom I'm attached.

During our lunch conversation today I learned something interesting about Marti Vicars. It seems her paternal grandmother, Nola Ochs (pictured left), is in the Guinness World Record book for being the world's oldest college graduate. Nola is 103 years old, born November 22, 1911. She received her bachelor's degree from Fort Hays State in Hayes, Kansas eight years ago, when she was 95. Nola went on to obtain her master's degree at age 98, graduating in 2010. After graduating with her master's in history, Nola went to work for Princess Cruise Lines as a guest lecturer.  When Nola turned 100 years of age in 2011, she was employed as a graduate teaching assistant at Fort Hayes State.
Marti told us that her grandmother raised her four sons - including Marti's father - on the family farm. She had attended college in her younger years, but after marrying her husband (Vernon Osch), Nola focused the family on the farm. After the death of her husband, realizing she was only 30 hours short of a degree, she moved 100 miles from the family farm to Hayes, Kansas to obtain her degrees.

Nola still travels. She still lives alone. When she travels friends will drop her off at the airport and she will fly solo. She's flew to Los Angeles for the Jay Leno Show where she was a featured guest along with Simon Cowell and Maroon 5. Nola's been on several major national television shows, but she keeps a humble spirit about her. When asked about her educational achievements, Nola's typical response is, "I've led a long, interesting life. We went through the dust storms. We had some difficult times in our marriage, financially. But it's been the Lord's will that I've lived this long life, and I thank Him kindly for it."

A tip of the hat today to a new hero of mine - Nola Osch. She proves to all of us that one is never too old to learn.


Victorious said...

What an achievement! Kudos to Nola for her strength and determination is fulfilling her goals and dreams!

Rex Ray said...

Subject: “Never too old…”

A man hired an agency to find a girl that at one time had stolen his heart.

An 80 year old widow showed him a jewelry box he had made her. A picture of him playing a guitar was inside. On top was carved her name and 1954

That’s right…this 83 year old guy is getting married July 4.

Unknown said...


Congratulations, Rex! What a neat story.

One of these days, expand on it a little and tell us how you first met her as a four-year-old, how many years you lost track of her, and the name of the agency that found her!

Ramesh said...

Congratulations Rex Ray! :)

Ramesh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

emmanuelenid & Thy Peace

In 1954, we met when I was a senior at North Texas University at the Baptist Student Union.

At the time I was on crutches from a motorcycle wreck. [60 years later, I was in better shape…only had a cane and one crutch. :) had cellulitis on an ankle ]

We broke up and I married in 1957. We had three children and a happy marriage, but she met Jesus two years ago.

OmniTrace – The People Search Experts found her about 80 miles from me. Oh Happy Day!

Curious Thinker said...

Such an amazing story. Wish the best of luck to Nola for being able to pursue her goals and prove it's never too late. God Bless

Rex Ray said...


In 1955, I graduated from NTSU in their ROTC to be a pilot. Due to a motorcycle accident, I became an F-16 mechanic at Perrin Air Force Base in Sherman, Texas.

I was wondering if Vicars ever told you how many if any pilots were lost while training.

It was there that I congratulated one of my classmates who was about to fly an F-16. He told me he would trade jobs with me as half our class was dead.

I asked how, and he said usually it was pilot error but sometimes mechanical failure.

I wonder when one of ‘my’ planes crashed what official cause they listed.

I didn’t hear an airplane but two explosions overhead. I looked up to see ‘my’ plane turn into a ‘glider’.
The first noise was its canopy blown off and the next was the ejection of the pilot. He was angry but suffered no harm…can’t say that about the plane.

Here are the facts:
Pilot wanted to land because he was low on gas, but was told to circle the Base because an emergency needed to land.

1. He circled and reported the plane was on empty. Same response.
2. Pilot circled and pleaded to land. Same response.
3. Plane ran out of gas on the third circle.

BTW, that motorcycle probably saved me from landing with my wheels up. :)

Christiane said...

congratulations on the happy personal news