Jerry W. Oothoudt, 60, Reno, Nevada

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 22, 2002

Jerry W. Oothoudt, anthropologist and commercial artist, died on June 7, 2002 at home in Reno, NV. He was 60 years old. His family reports he died of lymphatic leukemia.

A memorial service was held at his grave site on June 22. Burial was at the Graceland Cemetery, Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Jerry Oothoudt was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, in 1942. He graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1960 and then continued his education as an undergraduate student in geology and fine arts at Macalester College (B.A., 1964) and in archaeology at the University of Minnesota (B.A., 1971). He earned a Master of Arts degree in archaeology at the University of Nebraska in 1976.

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While a student at Macalester College, Oothoudt was introduced to spelunking and became the pioneer mapper of Mystery Cave at Spring Valley, Minnesota. The first partial map of the cave was drafted in 1965.

Oothoudt served in the U. S. Army Medical Corps in Germany and Vietnam between 1965 and 1969. He was married in 1975 and divorced in 1979.

He was employed for many years as a survey archaeologist who directed field crews and wrote technical reports for environmental impact statements. His employers were private companies, and state and federal agencies, in Minnesota, Wyoming, Colorado, California and Nevada.

In 1980, Oothoudt left archaeology and earned an Associate of Occupational Service degree (1982), from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado. He moved to the San Francisco Bay area for five years where he made a living as a commercial artist and at odd jobs. His time at the Bay was a period of fruitless inner searching and turmoil, but he began a brief, but serious exploration of drawing and painting and discovered that his first love was anthropology.

Between 1987 and 1995, Oothoudt lived alternately in Reno, Nevada and Minneapolis. He returned to survey archaeology and began earnest studies in human osteology and evolution, and dabbled in painting and drawing.

He traveled to Egypt in 1992 to see the ancient sites and Egyptian Museum. Standing on the plateau above the Nile River Valley and watching the sunset over the Valley of the Kings was the fulfillment of a boyhood dream.

In 1994, Oothoudt was diagnosed with lymphatic leukemia and was forced to cease archaeological field work. He was treated for cancer at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Reno, until his death he was employed by Kautz Environmental Consultants, Inc., in Reno, Nevada, as a cartographer and archaeological illustrator between 1995 and 2000. His illustrations of prehistoric andhistoric artifacts received praise from the archaeological and artistic communities in Nevada and Minnesota.

He spent the last years of his life living in Reno, where he enjoyed the companionship of close friends, the mountains and open valley deserts and occasional trips to Napa, Berkeley and San Francisco. He also traveled to Minnesota as frequently as health allowed to visit family and friends. Oothoudt continued his studies in anthropology and art until his death. His lifelong

quest was to know where our species came from and what we are and he struggled to find his voice in art.

Jerry Oothoudt is survived by his parents, Wayne “Jack&uot; and Alvina Oothoudt, his brother Robert I Oothoudt and sister-in-law, Kathryn L (Hoffman) Oothoudt, of Albert Lea, Minnesota; his niece, Amber L. (Oothoudt) and her husband Jason Kraft and their children Rowan and Braden Kraft of Mukwonago, Wisconsin; and his nephew, Michal V. Oothoudt , Albert Lea. He is also survived by a large extended family and many special friends.