The Ottumwa Courier


April 15, 2014

School board member resigns

OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members.

Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Education. Oswalt was not present at this week's meeting.

"It's nothing bad, not at all," he told the Courier by phone Tuesday. "I'll say this: I'm not a board person, not a person who has been involved in a lot of boards. But this has been a really good experience. I enjoyed the three superintendents I worked with, and Carol (Mitchell) is also very good."

Oswalt, a 10-year board veteran, retired as Indian Hills Community College dean of students in 2003; he was then elected to the all-volunteer Ottumwa school board. He's worked as an educator the majority of his adult life.

However, playing for the NFL was the first job out of college for the grandfather of seven. Not that he got to play much, he says, and it's not something he talks about much, either; but he says being part of pro football for a few years was a wonderful experience.

"I signed with the Vikings in '68, then was picked up by the Cleveland Browns, kicked around with them a bit," he said. "Most of my time was spent on practice squads, what they called taxi squads."

He'd gone to Drake on an athletic scholarship, meaning football had paid for his education, gave him an interesting job after college and taught him lessons that he didn't learn in the classroom. But outside of the top players on a team, he admitted, football can be a really rough job.

"It was a wonderful experience, and I met a lot of great people," he says now, 45 years later.

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