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Published: Monday, 5/17/2010

Retired banker served on board


OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Freda W. Zibbel, who started her banking career as a teller for the National Bank of Oak Harbor shortly after it was founded in 1934 and retired as assistant vice president, died Thursday in Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mich..

The cause of death was an apparent heart attack, the family said. Mrs. Zibbel moved to a retirement home in St. Joseph about five months ago to be close to her daughter.

Mrs. Zibbel was born in Carroll Township in Ottawa County on Oct. 4, 1919, to Charles and Minnie Miller. Her father and a group of farmers in the area founded the National Bank of Oak Harbor in 1934.

When she graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1937, "it was a foregone conclusion that she'd become a bank teller," her daughter, Marjorie Ann Zibbel, said.

Mrs. Zibbel's first eight years of schooling were in a one-room school across the street from her home, her daughter said.

Despite not attending college, she grew with the bank, which now has four other branches in addition to its headquarters in Oak Harbor. She was one of three employees of the fledgling bank.

Ms. Zibbel said her mother left the bank in the 1940s to raise her family, then returned in 1961.

"She loved her job," Ms. Zibbel said. At a time when most women were stay-at-home mothers, Mrs. Zibbel "was one of the few women who went to work every day in a suit and high heels."

Even after her retirement in 1988, she still retained an interest in the bank.

In 1993, she was named a member of its board of directors.

She served in that position for nearly four years, her daughter said.

Mrs. Zibbel and her husband enjoyed traveling and made a trip to Germany to visit her daughter and to seek out the area where Mr. Zibbel served during World War II, Ms. Zibbel said.

In addition to her banking career, Mrs. Zibbel was proud of her long-time involvement with St. John Evangelical Church in Oak Harbor, where she was married on May 30, 1941, to Arthur J. Zibbel. He died on March 21, 1995.

Mrs. Zibbel used her banking acumen to help establish the church's endowment trust fund, on which she served as its chairman. The day the fund hit $500,000 was a momentous one for her mother, Ms. Zibbel said.

Mrs. Zibbel is survived by a daughter, Marjorie Ann Zibbel; son, Charles J. Zibbel; three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. today at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church. Robinson-Walker Funeral Home & Crematory in Oak Harbor handled the arrangements.

The family suggests memorials to the endowment trust fund of St. John Evangelical Church.

Contact: Jim Sielicki at:


or 419-724-6078.

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