Denise Marie Ostendorf


Denise Marie Ostendorf of Zionsville, IN, left her family and friends on May 22, 2019, the result of an extended battle with cancer. Denise was born in Vincennes on December 29, 1961, the fifth child of Francis and Blanche (Clark) Ostendorf, and was immediately known as "Nese," and subsequently by her nieces and nephews, as "Uncle Nese." She is survived by her mother, Blanche of Vincennes; sisters Susan (Rick) Leonard of Vincennes and Debbie (Jack) Goodner of Lebanon, TN; sister-in-law Debby (Pea) Ostendorf of Vincennes; brothers Matt (Marilyn) Ostendorf of Newburgh and Greg (Janet) Ostendorf of Zionsville; and her nieces and nephews, all of whom had a special relationship with her (Uncle Nese being but one example). She was predeceased in 2017 by both her father, Francis, and brother, Doug Ostendorf of Vincennes.

Denise was a graduate of Rivet High School and Indiana University. She was the consummate teacher and relished the challenges of the profession and the rewards of seeing her students succeed in life. Her teaching career began at her high school alma mater, Rivet High School, and concluded at Zionsville High School. Throughout her career, Denise was originative and endeavored to make her classes interesting and fun, a conundrum for government classes. Many of her students will remember one of her classroom techniques, the voices, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, Don Vito Corleone, and the Jersey Voice, to name a few. Denise was also an ardent supporter of her students in their extracurricular activities of athletics, band, choir, theater and various clubs. Denise was favored with a multitude of teaching colleagues from both Rivet and Zionsville, all of whom supported her in myriad ways, particularly during her final challenge, at school, at home, at treatment facilities, and at the hospital.

Denise was a unique individual from the get-go. Born with an older sister and three older brothers, her potential influences were numerous, and she chose only the salubrious ones. Denise had many interests and a wonderful sense of humor that was all her own, with a range that spanned from highbrow to Philistine. She shared her siblings' love of satirical comedies, and was always quick to lend her wit and banter on topics ranging from the dynamics of the Cold War Kremlin to the latest developments with her favorite Bravolebrities. She was also a disciple of ecclesiastical humor, evidenced by her endless supply of nun greeting cards and pugilistic hand puppets. Denise was an excellent student from elementary school through graduate school. In teaching government and completing her master's degree, she developed a keen interest and understanding of the federal election and political processes. During any election cycle, she was a profusion of all the candidates' positions on the issues.

Denise had a family that loved her dearly and countless close and cherished friends throughout her life. She was a genuinely good and selfless person and her departure leaves a void in our hearts and lives. The family expresses its sincerest gratitude to the many friends and colleagues of Denise that visited, assisted and sustained her during the throes of her illness.

A celebration of Denise's life will be held on Saturday, June 1, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Harmony Society, 111 N. Second Street, in Vincennes. At Denise's request, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor at 2345 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260-1905 or through their website at

Duesterberg-Fredrick Funeral Home of Vincennes is honored to assist Denise's family during their time of loss.
Published on May 24, 2019
Send flowers
in memory of Denise
See more

Obituary published in


Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.

Share your condolences and special memories.
The guestbook expires on August 22, 2019.

Select an emblem

10 posts

Dori Bammer
May 30, 2019
This hurts my heart to hear, I had her in a couple classes in high school and she was such a caring person. She cared about each of her students so much and wanted to see us all succeed. I remember so many times talking to her about college and stressful things happening in my life and she always listened and gave the best advice. She helped me decide where I wanted to attend college and I will never forget when I told her that I signed at MU for volleyball, she was so happy for me and she told me how proud she was for me and we had talked at length about my college volleyball journey and she knew how important it was for me which made it even more special to have her with me through that jo...urney, not all teachers are like that but she was not just a regular teacher she was such an amazing person and teacher.Read more
May 29, 2019
I am extremely saddened to hear of Ms. Ostendorf’s passing, but even more grateful to have crossed paths with her. You were an amazing educator with a clear love & care for your students. You challenged us to be conscientious citizens and to take part in the world around us. I will always remember your light. Rest easy now.
May 28, 2019
I wasn't always the most teachable student in high school, but Ms. Ostendorf was truly one of the very few who reached me and inspired me. I always appreciated her sense of humor. She was certainly one of a kind and will be missed by many I am sure. Thank you for being YOU!
Class of '08.
Julianne Richardville Baehl
May 25, 2019
.Denise, I remember some of the good times we had during our 4 years of High School at Rivet. Thoughts & prayers to the Ostendorf Family.
R.I.P Denise From the Class of 1980 , Rivet HS.
Sandy Bohmeier
May 25, 2019
DENISE was a great mentor during our time together at Rivet when I stepped into the role of religious instructor when Sister Gloria needed to take a leave of absence.
Karen Noble
May 24, 2019
I had a smile on my face as I read Denise's obit. She truly had such a bright outlook. I so enjoyed talking to her when the Ostendorf's and the Pea's were at the same gathering. We would share teaching stories....the good and the bad. I hope she has peace now.
A History Student
May 24, 2019
Ms. Ostendorf was an amazing educator and a very kind, wonderful woman who most certainly changed me for the better. Her memory is and will always be a blessing. My thoughts are with the Ostendorf family. I am very sorry for your loss.
May 24, 2019
As a former student of Ms. Ostendorf, I am deeply saddened and send my condolences. She always challenged me in class and inspired me to take political action within my own community and showed me the importance of being a good citizen. Not only was Ms. Ostendorf a great citizen, but she was an even better person.
Jerry Cardinal
May 24, 2019
Teresa and Steve Tresslar
May 24, 2019
The world is drastically diminished without Denise. She was truly unique and one of the most generous individuals I’ve ever known. Though not related by blood, our children proudly claimed Uncle Nese as a member of our family. That feeling didn’t wane over time. Our prayers for comfort and healing are with the Ostendorf family.