|Oberhouse served Pemberville as mayor & educator|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 11:11|
PEMBERVILLE - Though not a native of Pemberville, Gustava "Gussie" Oberhouse quietly rose to become a leader of the village's government, schools and one of its churches. She died on Friday at her home in Pemberville at the age of 85.
From her humble beginnings on a Pennsylvania dairy farm, with a family which included her five sisters and five brothers, she learned the value of hard work.
She started her teaching career at a one-room school near Port Huron, Mich., where she taught all the students from first to eighth grade for many years. After moving to Pemberville, she began teaching at Pemberville Elementary in 1955.
When she became principal of Pemberville and Webster elementary schools in 1972, it was at a time when the job encompassed physical operations of the buildings. "She worked hard to earn her boilers' license, so she could keep the boiler fired up and keep the school warm," said her daughter, Jan Larson McLaughlin.
Sue Wynn became the Eastwood Middle School principal in 1984. "She took me under her wing was we worked closely as colleagues," Mrs. Wynn said.
Mrs. Oberhouse was known to always have an open door policy for students, teachers and parents. "I admired her professionalism, thoughtfulness, kindness and caring," Mrs. Wynn added. "You could confide in her and knew it wouldn't go all over the place."
In 1992 Mrs. Oberhouse began her first of three terms as mayor of Pemberville.
"The welfare of the people and of the village, was always foremost on her mind," said Marge Cox of Mrs. Oberhouse's approach as mayor. "She was always willing to listen to anyone who may have had a concern."
Mrs. Oberhouse also regularly published a newsletter to the citizens.
"She was instrumental in the installation of railroad crossing gates and lights at three crossings," said Mrs. Cox.
During her tenure as mayor, she helped coordinate the 125th anniversary celebration and also played a vital role in establishing a "Sister City" relationship with Rudenhausen, Germany. Mrs. Oberhouse fostered the relationship through regular communications with the German city's leaders.
Mrs. Cox also noted the mayor's willingness to get involved. "She didn't mind getting dirty during the restoration of the Opera House. She'd go up there and help," she said of the mayor and her friend. "She was always a gracious hostess. She could give a speech, bake cookies and pies or whatever was needed."
"She was a great mayor and I really enjoyed working with her," Mrs. Cox summarized.
Mrs. Oberhouse received a Spirit of Wood County Award in 2004.
She also was always active in her church, Pemberville United Methodist, where she taught Sunday school for 40 years. According to a fellow church member, Marty Braucksieck, Mrs. Oberhouse served as a trustee, on the worship committee, the pastor-parish relations committee, and baked for mission projects. In addition she served a time as the Sunday School superintendent and also directed the Vacation Bible School program.
"She was a super lady. She's one of those people you could always go to. She would put herself out and put the needs of other people ahead of her own," Mrs. Braucksieck said.
She helped with the monthly church dinners, and was known for her pie-baking skills.
"A lot of people would go over to the dessert table and ask what pie Gussie made," Mrs. Braucksieck said.
"She was always someone you could go to. She was a very, very giving person," she added.
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