Donelda Fern Ellinwood Overmier died peacefully in her sleep at the Northcrest Nursing Center in Napoleon on November 17, 2019, three days after she turned 97. Donelda, born November 14, 1922, saw the world change from horse-drawn wagons and one-room schools to planes and the information highway. Donelda enjoyed traveling and flew around the world, but she wasn’t interested in the Internet. Donelda loved telling family stories and was the genealogy master for her birth family and her in-laws.
Donelda was the second child and second daughter of Edward and Addie Babcock Ellinwood. She was a middle child with a sister, Naida, six years older, and a brother Darlynd, 14 years younger. She was so active that an uncle once offered her two bits, which was a lot of money back then, if she’d sit still for five minutes. Donelda’s parents moved frequently during her childhood but eventually settled in Texas. Donelda graduated from Liberty Center High School.
Donelda wanted to attend college, but post-secondary degrees for females weren't a priority in her era. Donelda’s grandmother gave her money to attend beauty school. Donelda joined other young women in Toledo and earned her beautician’s license. She had her own beauty shop above what is now Kurtz’s Hardware in Napoleon.
In March 1943, Donelda boarded a train for Walla Walla, Washington, where her fiancé, Richard Overmier, was stationed. The couple was married but spent most of World War II apart.
After the war Richard finished college and Donelda operated her beauty shop. The couple moved to Bryan, Ohio, when Richard got a teaching job. Their son, Gary, was born in 1950. Another son, Randy, was born in 1955 in Columbus, Ohio, when Richard was in dental school. Donelda cut hair at the Ohio State University family housing and helped earn some extra money during the lean dental school years.
The family returned to Napoleon after Richard graduated from dental school. Donelda had strong math and organizational skills so she was essentially her husband’s dental practice manager.
Tragedy struck in April 1984 when Richard unexpectedly died of a heart attack at the family home. In July 2005 Donelda suffered another blow when her son Randy died after his long battle with cancer.
Donelda was an artist in the kitchen and on a sewing machine. Her chocolate mint brownies were a perennial favorite at Christmas. She made an exquisite christening gown for her granddaughters.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Elizabeth, Columbus; granddaughters Meg Haas, Columbus, Kati, Houston, Ellen, Maumee; her great grandchildren, Molly, Danny and Dominic Haas, Columbus, and Ezra Burgess, Houston; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and Randy’s dog, Ginger.
There will be private graveside services.
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