Obituary: Duke Ostendorf, Palisades-Malibu YMCA Board Member

With great sadness, the family announces Duke Ostendorf’s passing on September 14. He was 72.

Duke was born and raised in Toluca Lake and North Hollywood. He is the grandson of the ubiquitous character actor, Henry O’Neill. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and attended Valley College and Cal State Northridge.

As a teenager, Duke worked to support his mother and brother, and in college found his way to the East Valley YMCA. He went on to become a Program Director at the Wilshire, Southwest LA, and Palisades-Malibu YMCAs where he organized youth programming. He always found great joy in spending time with children and young adults.

It was at the Y where he met his future wife, Jan. They were married at the Ambassador Hotel in 1977 and built an incredible life together over the course of their 42-year marriage.

In the ’70s Duke entered the booming computer industry, working in executive search and also for a software startup. In the ’80s he co-founded Tri-West Marketing, where he spent 20 years before retiring. In retirement, he returned to the YMCA, serving on the Board of the Palisades-Malibu branch and spending many years as chairman.

Duke and Jan moved to Pacific Palisades in 1991 and lived in the same house on Maroney Lane for the rest of his life. His highest callings were family and community. In 1986, he became a father with the birth of his son, Hank. His daughter, Jennie, was born in 1991. He coached countless sports teams for his children and attended all of their dance and theater performances.

Backyard birthday parties and BBQs hosted by the Ostendorfs became the stuff of legend—Duke was always stationed at the grill.

Duke loved hiking and backpacking and spent time each year with his oldest friends in the Eastern Sierras backcountry or the Grand Canyon. An eclectic character, he also loved old movies, cool cars, architecture, music, sports, American history and politics. Duke had an unforgettable personality and will be remembered especially for his often-irreverent humor, warm smile and contagious laugh.

He is survived by his family and friends who are raising funds in his honor to help send underserved children to YMCA summer camps and enrichment programs. To contribute, please visit: For additional questions or to offer condolences, please contact

Duke’s family and friends are gathering on Zoom to celebrate his life on Sunday, September 27 at 2 p.m. You may find the details here ( if you’d like to join—all are welcome.

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2 Responses to Obituary: Duke Ostendorf, Palisades-Malibu YMCA Board Member

  1. M says:

    I had the privilege of working with Duke on fund raising campaigns for the Palisades YMCA, for many years.
    He was always enthusiastic, smiling, friendly and a champion of the YMCA. He
    was instrumental in securing the parcel known as “Simon Meadow” for the Palisades YMCA. Duke was always a strong supporter and very proud of his wife and children and spoke fondly of them. He was the ultimate volunteer, giving many hours of his time and expertise. Duke will be greatly missed by all.

  2. Georgette Rieck says:

    Duke and I were boardmembers of a homeowners association in Santa Monica. I considered Duke a friend from the moment we met. His infectious laugh and great sense of humor was his trademark. It was a honor to know you Duke. RIP my friend.

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