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Peter L. "Pete" Oatman

Peter L. "Pete" Oatman


Peter L. (Pete) Oatman, a devoted husband, father, and esteemed high school principal, passed away peacefully on August 21, 2023, at the age of 77. His loss is deeply felt by his family, friends, and the community he touched throughout his remarkable life.

Born on March 25, 1946, in Troy, NY. Pete Oatman was a beloved figure in DeLand, Florida, where he dedicated his life to education and the betterment of his students. He served as a high school principal for many years, shaping the lives of countless young individuals and leaving an indelible mark on the local educational landscape.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Pete had a passionate love for sports, particularly Georgia Bulldog football and Stetson basketball. His unwavering support for these teams made him a fixture at games, where his spirited enthusiasm was infectious to all around him.

Pete's pursuit of knowledge led him to earn his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and his master's degree from Stetson University, a testament to his commitment to personal growth and academic excellence. He embraced learning and encouraged those around him to do the same, leaving a legacy of intellectual curiosity.

Among his many joys in life, Pete cherished spending time with friends at the Elusive Grape, where they would gather to share stories, laughter, and a mutual appreciation for fine wine. These gatherings were a reflection of Pete's warm and inviting nature, as he effortlessly brought people together with his genuine charm and companionship.

Pete's most cherished role was that of a loving husband to Mary Lou for 42 wonderful years. Their enduring partnership was a source of inspiration to all who knew them, a testament to the power of love, commitment, and mutual respect.

As a father, Pete's devotion knew no bounds. He leaves behind his daughter, Jennifer Oatman Martin, her husband Craig, and son Corey, as well as his sons, Brian Frank and Raymond Frank. Pete's presence in their lives was a constant source of guidance, support, and boundless love.

One of Pete's greatest joys was being a grandfather to his beloved grandson, Corey, who held a special place in his heart. He was truly the apple of Pete's eye, and their relationship was a source of immeasurable happiness for both.

Pete's role as a brother to Jon Oatman was marked by a deep bond of sibling camaraderie, illustrating the importance of family connections throughout his life journey.

Peter L. (Pete) Oatman will be remembered as a man of integrity, a dedicated educator, a loyal friend, a loving husband, a proud father, a cherished grandfather, and a community pillar. His legacy lives on through the lives he touched, the lessons he imparted, and the love he shared. What many might not know about Pete is that his family is a big part of Oatman, Arizona. It is truly a place worth visiting!

A memorial service to celebrate Pete's life will be held on September 17, 2023 at 1:00 P.M. at Lankford Funeral Home immediately followed by a gathering at the Elusive Grape in downtown DeLand. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to Translife or Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL in Pete's memory.

Rest in peace, Pete, knowing that your spirit lives on in the hearts of all those who had the privilege of knowing you.

1,395 views3 comments


David Ownby
David Ownby
Sep 23, 2023

I live out of town so my contact with Pete was limited to seeing him at the class luncheons, and reunions. He was very engaging, and made you feel like you were the only important person in the roomwho was worth talking to. He was very socialable, and had an infectious smile. The number of people attending his memorial service is evidence of the esteem that people felt for him. David Ownby


What a shock as read this while in Vermont. Pete will be missed by many including myself as we go back to the day of JC's in DeLand as well as in education. He served as an assistant coach for the DeLand High track team with me, as outstanding start coach. Sorry that I will not be in town for the service, know that my thoughts will be with you on that day.

Tony and Monica Tussing


Pete was that rare educator that truly embraced his profession - which showed in his dedication to all of the students that he taught, mentored, advised, counseled, etc. His love for his students was only second to his love for his family. He was always upbeat and quick to brag about his family. He and Gus Gibbs were both fixtures at DeLand High and Stetson football games. Mary Lou - I am smiling thinking of the times we bumped into each other the past few years. Too few it now turns out. I miss Pete already. - Jim Clayton

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