BOWLING GREEN -- Winifred A. "Winnie" Gallenstein, a Bowling Green city secretary whose smile and friendly manner charmed residents, whether they stopped by to pay a bill or file a complaint, died Thursday in Woodhaven Nursing Home, Bowling Green. She was 94.
She was in ill health recently. She lived near Weston, Ohio, where her late husband, Eugene, was a funeral director.
Her church, St. Mark's Lutheran, thanked Mrs. Gallenstein for her service in a recent bulletin as it announced she was stepping aside after more than 23 years of scheduling Sunday greeters.
"She was very active and independent until the last couple months," said Scott Libbe, a nephew.
When Mrs. Gallenstein retired at the end of 1983 she also was clerk of City Council. She was hired in 1958 by Mayor Clarence Dick. She was city government's sole secretary, plus she accepted utility bills and counted money from parking meters.
"She was all of it. Nothing got by her," said Galen Ash, a retired police chief.
Hers as an "all-important job. Nothing menial," said Howard Rutter, Bowling Green fire chief from 1966 to 1984. "She was an all-around worker. She would do anything you'd ask her to do and do it without complaint."
Visitors to city hall saw Mrs. Gallenstein first, and she was known to calm the irate with ease.
"She'd cool 'em right down," Mr. Rutter said. "You couldn't get her upset if you tried. She always smiled."
Longtime Blade editor and columnist Don Wolfe called Mrs. Gallenstein "the sunshine lady."
"With her mile of smile, and a gracious manner -- plus a patient ear, a sympathetic understanding, an efficient approach -- well, that angry taxpayer might just be in a changed mood to raise, voluntarily, his payroll income deductions," Mr. Wolfe wrote in a 1966 "Town Talk" column.
After she retired, he devoted another "Town Talk" column to accolades from city officials and businessmen.
"I enjoy every minute of my life," Mrs. Gallenstein told Mr. Wolfe at her retirement.
Colleen Smith, a former Bowling Green city administrator, was hired in 1967 as the city's second secretary.
"The city could not have found a better public relations person," said Mrs. Smith, who became a close friend of Mrs. Gallenstein's.
"She had a marvelous work ethic and had very high moral standards," Mrs. Smith said. "Her biggest asset was that Winnie was born in Wood County and knew everybody and knew how they were connected and who was a cousin to who."
She often could greet visitors by name as they walked into the building.
"That was such an asset to the city," Mrs. Smith said.
More than 100 people turned out for her 90th birthday part.
"She just had a ball. She was thrilled," Mrs. Smith said. "She talked about that birthday party all the time. She saw people she hadn't seen in 20 years.
"She was a dynamic person. She was like a sister to me," Mrs. Smith said. "There'll never be another Winnie."
In retirement, Mrs. Gallenstein volunteered weekly at Wood County Hospital and was an American Cancer Society volunteer. She kept a large garden and traveled widely.
She was born Aug. 28, 1918, to Alice and John Aring and grew up on a farm. She was a 1936 graduate of Pemberville High School. She attended Davis Business College in Toledo.
Afterward, she was a bookkeeper and cashier at a Bowling Green grocery store. For about a decade, she was secretary of the American Red Cross' Wood County office.
She and her husband married April 15, 1950. He died March 13, 1982.
Surviving is her sister, Johanna Libbe.
Visitation will be from 1 to 6 p.m. today in the Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home, Bowling Green. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Bowling Green.
The family suggests tributes to the church, Weston EMS, the American Cancer Society, or a charity of the donor's choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.