Friends Remembered: Harry A. Oiler, JR.

Harry A. Oiler, Jr.

Carnegie Hero Harry A. Oiler, Jr., 81, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, died Monday, March 18, 2024, in Florida. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1966 after rescuing a woman from drowning in the Muskingum River in Ohio.

On Dec. 30, 1965, the woman lost control of her sedan, which plunged down a bank into the river. As the vehicle drifted downstream and the front end began to sink, she climbed into the rear seat area. Oiler ran to the bank and heard the woman shout for help. After removing his shoes and jacket, he entered the cold water and swam across the current, reaching the drifting sedan in water 20 feet deep. Unable to open the rear door, Oiler told the woman to lower the window. She extended her head, arms, and shoulders through the opening. Grasping her, Oiler braced his feet against the side of the automobile and pulled. He said later he could feel the sedan tilting toward him as he drew the woman out. They were submerged briefly, but he gained ahold of her arm and Oiler towed the woman toward the bank, where he found footing.

Oiler was born October 18, 1942, to Norma and Harry A. Oiler, Sr.

Oiler was a member of Sheet Metal Local 299, which later became Local 33, for 56.5 years. He was the business agent for most of those years. He loved to fish and was an avid golfer who was said to have several holes-in-one of which he was very proud.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Donna (Waters) Oiler; daughter, Stacy Williams; and son, Steven Oiler.