Naomi Oetzel, 85, passed away on April 13, 2020. Naomi attended Wilmington College, where she earned a teaching certificate. In April of 1953, she married Charles Oetzel, and the two lived in the New Richmond, Ohio area for nearly 60 years. Charles, who died in 2015, had joined Cincinnati Friends Meeting in 1950; Naomi followed suit in 1968. She was serving as the clerk of the Finance Committee in 1979 when the Meeting conducted a mortgage-burning ceremony to celebrate our paying off the meetinghouse on Keller Road.
Naomi attended our Meeting during Jim Newby's first tenure as a minister here. "The most important thing that I remember about Naomi was her love and the ways that she expressed that love," Jim recalled. "When I was at Cincinnati Meeting in the late '70s, the most faithful family in the Meeting were the Oetzels. The Oetzel family traveled from New Richmond to the Meeting nearly every First Day, and if there was a task to be done, Naomi or Charles were quick to volunteer. In my mind's eye, I can still see Naomi in the entryway of the meetinghouse, smiling and trying to round up her children for First Day School. She loved her family and she loved her Meeting."
"When I returned to Cincinnati Meeting in 2016," Jim continued, "one of the first calls that I made was to Naomi. Barb Napier and I traveled out to her home to see her. We were met with loving arms, cookies, and a graciousness that only Naomi could share. We had a wonderful conversation about the Meeting and what had taken place between my times as minister. One of the most encouraging things that anyone has ever shared with me was during that visit that afternoon. Naomi said to me that she still had a stack of my sermons from the 1970s. Even I don't have my sermons from the 1970s! Thank you, Naomi, for being such an encourager to this Quaker minister."
Naomi spent her years raising her children, managing her home and gardens, substitute teaching, preparing taxes, and working the election polls,. She was a 4-H advisor and a member of the Farm Bureau Women’s Club and the Mr. Pisgah Civic Club. Her favorite passion in life, besides feeding the birds, was hosting and feeding large or small gatherings of her family.
If you would like to honor her memory, feel free to donate to your local OSU Extension 4-H program, the Arc of Appalachia land preservation organization (or your local favorite conservation program), or Wilmington College. She would like that!