Obituaries » Jean Oden
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December 11, 1929 - October 8, 2020
Allena Jean Oden, 90, passed away Thursday, October 8, 2020 at Briar Hill Health Center of North Baltimore, Ohio. Jean was born December 11, 1929 in Lima to Carl and Hazel (Candler) Osman. She was preceded in death by her dear half-sister Regina Zwiebel and her many beloved cousins.
As a senior at Lima’s Central High School, Jean’s head was turned by Bob Oden, a handsome young soldier returning to finish classes interrupted by WWII. Intrigued by this older, worldly boy with a soft Tennessee accent, she gained his attention when she accidentally spilled her lily-of-the-valley perfume, splashing it down his back. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and 68 years of marriage. They graduated in 1947 and married in 1949. Bob passed away in 2018.
That bottle of perfume was indirectly responsible for three children, Michael (Patty) Oden (both deceased), Sean (Kay) Oden of Lima, and Pamela (Scott Whitlock) Oden of Chicago. With great delight, Jean became Grandma to three granddaughters, Miranda (Todd Fowler) Oden, Melissa (Todd) Sherrick, and Samantha Whitlock, and grandson John Carl Oden, who broke hearts when he didn’t survive. She was Great-Grandmother to Kelsey, Kyler and Carter Oden, and Keegan and Brody Sherrick, and Great-Great-Grandmother to Patterson Donnal. She always said if she could re-live any part of her life it would be when her children were young, but she would’ve also loved re-living the evenings of Yahtzee games, summer picnics at the Defiance dam, or open fires and popcorn with her grandchildren. Jean transformed mundane moments into rich memories. The grown children in her life have recollections of magical trips down the “Private Alley,” sailboats made of oak leaves, treasure seeking at garage sales, or train spotting from the Jameson overpass.
Jean’s priority was her family. An excellent host, she for decades prepared Sunday dinner for the whole family. Drop-in guests were always welcomed. For birthdays, there was always the celebrant’s favorite meal and cake, served at a table laid with a festive tablecloth, best China and the good silver. As kind and loving as Jean was to her family, everyone knew better than to cross her on Thursdays, House Cleaning Day. Woe to the careless one who walked across her glossy kitchen floor in muddy shoes!
Jean was proud to have worked in earlier years as legal secretary to Lima attorney Alvin Zurfluh. Later, she worked briefly at Kings department store and Nickels Bakery. Anxious to begin life with Bob, she chose not to attend college, but this never stopped her from learning. She was an artist and enjoyed painting portraits and sketching her children and their friends. She made miniatures, upholstered furniture, learned to play golf, could paint and hang wallpaper, and enjoyed writing short narratives. Her favorite was a nostalgic account of days spent with her childhood friend, MaryJune.
Jean was a woman of integrity and strong faith. An active member of St. Mark’s for over 50 years, the church played a central role in her life. She led an adult Sunday school class for decades and studied the Bible extensively. Blessed with a long, happy life, Jean dealt with the challenges of deteriorating health in her final years with characteristic humor and grace. She’ll be remembered with love and laughter. The family would like to thank the kind-hearted staff of Briar Hill for their compassion and TLC, and the heroic measures they have taken to make living in the days of Covid-19 bearable. Thank you to the staff of Ohio Living Hospice for seeing us all through to the end.
Friends may call from 6 to 8pm Monday, and one hour prior to services Tuesday at Chiles – Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Shawnee Chapel.
Funeral services begin at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at Chiles – Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Shawnee Chapel. Pastor Ted Bible officiating.
Burial follows at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 1110 N. Metcalf, Lima, OH 45801.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.chiles-lamanfh.com.