Gustava "Gussie" Oberhouse, a former Pemberville, Ohio, mayor and school principal, died Friday of natural causes at her home in Pemberville. She was 85.
Ms. Oberhouse began her teaching career in Michigan before she moved to Pemberville to teach and later became principal at Pemberville and Webster Schools.
Jan Larson McLaughlin said her mother had an open-door policy as a teacher that she continued as principal.
"The kids could go to her to talk about anything," she said. "Later the teachers seemed to really respect her because she had that same policy with teachers too."
There was one lesson that Ms. Oberville particularly loved to teach, her daughter said -- "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
"That was really her philosophy about everything in life," Ms. McLaughlin said. "If you see a problem, you don't talk badly about it, you fix it."
After her retirement from the education field, Ms. Oberhouse served as mayor of Pemberville from 1992 to 2003.
"She didn't believe in complaining about things, but she believed in helping out to improve things," Ms. McLaughlin said.
Shortly after she was elected, Ms. Oberhouse hired Ruth Phillips as clerk treasurer.
Ms. Phillips said Ms. Oberhouse was a gracious mayor who genuinely cared about the village of Pemberville.
"I think her goal was just to do what was best for the village," Ms. Phillips said. "I think she just mainly wanted to see Pemberville prosper and to do her part."
Her most notable achievement as mayor was installing gates at three of the town's five railroad crossings, Ms. Phillips said.
Ms. Phillips recalled Ms. Oberhouse inviting the village employees to her home every year for a Christmas brunch.
"It was always lovely," Ms. Phillips said. "She was a good cook and baker, and a very gracious hostess."
Ms. Oberhouse did not limit her baking talents to Christmas brunch.
"She served on just about every committee there was and baked pies and cookies for every event they had," Ms. McLaughlin said. "If there was someone in the community who had lost someone or was going through a hard time, she would bake something for them."
Ms. McLaughlin said her mother remained involved with the community, particularly the church and historical society.
Surviving are her husband, Donald; daughter, Jan Larson McLaughlin; son, Thomas Oberhouse; brothers Richard Carpenter, John Carpenter, and David Carpenter; sister, Mary Vincent, and six grandchildren
Visitation is to be Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m at Marsh Funeral Home in Pemberville. Funeral services are to be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Pemberville United Methodist Church.
Contact Mel Flanagan at: email@example.com or 419-724-6087.
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