Even in her final days, Betty Lou Nein never met a stranger.
As a patient at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, she made time to meet everyone on staff, from the surgeons to the custodians. She knew their names and the names of their children.
“It didn’t make any difference to her,” said her son, Rick Nein. “She knew them all.”
On Tuesday morning, hours after having heart surgery, Nein died at Good Samaritan. She was 95.
Before she died, the family got to spend time with her, Rick Nein said.
“It’s been good,” he said. “She left a legacy that will be hard to live up to. She was a wonderful mom and she’s with dad now. What more could you want?”
Another son, Scott Nein, called his mother “a great one” who will be missed by the Middletown community.
“She loved the community,” he said. “Her fingerprints can be seen everywhere.”
The sons said their parents thoroughly enjoyed working on projects together.
“A good team,” Scott Nein said of his parents.
Rick Nein added: “Mom and dad operated as a team.”
Nein earned a place in the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 1998 and Outstanding Women of Butler County in 1990. The Hamilton native lived at Mount Pleasant in Monroe.
She graduated from Darrtown High School and Western College for Women and became a third generation teacher. Her first position in Hamilton Schools was teaching music. After getting married in 1946 and starting her family, she started her volunteer career.
She served as president of the Middletown Board of Education for four years and was a member of First Presbyterian Church and served as an Elder.
Nein also was president of PEO (Philanthropic Education Organization), chairman of the United Way Campaign, served on the Board of Directors of the Middletown Symphony, was an administrator of the Arts In Middletown, and earned the Middletown Classroom Teacher’s Association Community Citizens Award for Outstanding Service to Education in 1983.
She is survived by her sons, Richard (Barb) Nein, Scott (Janis) Nein and Tom (Susan) Nein; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Her husband, Richard C. “Dick” Nein, preceded her in death in 2001.
Memorial service will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 2910 Central Ave., with the Rev. Michael Isaacs officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be sent to the Middletown Community Foundation, The Nein Family Fund, 300 N. Main St, Suite 300, Middletown, OH 45042 or the donor’s favorite charity.
T. Duane Gordon, executive director of the MCF, said it’s “sad to lose someone of her stature.”
He met Nein when he joined the foundation nine years ago and they formed a friendship, he said.
“When she walked in a room, she controlled the room,” he said.
Candice Keller, executive director of the Community Pregnancy Center, said she honored Nein several years ago at a Mother’s Day luncheon at the Manchester Inn. Keller said Nein “paved the way for women” in leadership.
“She set the example of courage, toughness, kindness and class,” Keller said.