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'Wild Bill' clung to heritage at Gettysburg

| Friday, July 28, 2006

As a former policeman and security company owner, Bill Ogden understood the pitfalls of gambling.

"When Bill heard that there were firms vying to put a gambling casino at Gettysburg, he was livid," said his wife, Josephine. "Bill considered Gettysburg to be a sacred place. He had relatives on both sides of his family that fought in the Civil War."

William N. Ogden Jr., of Crafton, retired owner of Ogden Security Police, died of a heart attack on Wednesday, July 26, 2006, at Ohio Valley General Hospital, Kennedy. He was 75.

"As soon as our children, and in later years our grandchildren, understood what Gettysburg meant to Bill, we'd all make the trip to Gettysburg every year," Mrs. Ogden said.

Born and raised in Crafton, Mr. Ogden was one of two sons of William N. Sr. and Helen Newman Ogden. His father was employed by Kaufmann's Department Store, Downtown.

It was while working in a Crafton movie theater that featured Westerns that Mr. Ogden acquired the boyhood nickname "Wild Bill."

In 1950, following his graduation from high school the year before, Mr. Ogden joined the Army and served in Korea. "Dad was a sergeant, and despite the heavy fighting, he only lost one man in his platoon," said his daughter, Helen Rogers.

Following his discharge in 1953, Mr. Ogden joined the Crafton Police Department, where he remained until he started his own security firm in 1964.

In 1955, he married Josephine Kline, of Indiana, Pa., whom he met at West View Park. "At first, it was his big brown eyes that I admired," Mrs. Ogden said. "But it was his integrity as both a man and a policeman that made me decide that he was the man for me."

"Dad's reputation for honesty and respect for the citizens of Crafton was well known," Rogers said. "During one robbery, he found drawers of money that hadn't been taken. He slammed the drawers shut and told his colleagues, 'That's how it's done.'"

"Bill understood that with the number of children that we had and that there would be more to come, the salary of a police officer wouldn't support his family," Mrs. Ogden said. "That's when he decided to establish his own security firm.

"At one time, Bill had as many as 23 security people working for him. His customers were primarily industrial plants, but he also provided security for many of the large homes in Squirrel Hill.

"But even with the closing of so many plants in the last few years, Bill continued working up until a year ago. And no matter how many hours Bill was away from the house, he made sure that we sat down at the dinner table as a family."

Mr. Ogden is survived by his wife, Josephine Kline Ogden; two sons, William N. Ogden III and James Ogden, both of Crafton; five daughters, Helen Rogers, of Hanover, Washington County; Martha Olander and Josie Kennedy, both of Scott; Rosie Tepsich, of Moon, and Leslie Jacobs, of Crafton; eight grandchildren; and a brother, Thomas Ogden, of Crafton.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Hershberger-Stover Funeral Home, 170 Noble Ave., Crafton.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Boniface Church, Holy Wisdom Parish, North Side.

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