Diehl posthumously honored as Citizen of the Years

Barbara Diehl was the subject of several nominations suggesting she be named a Citizen of the Years but, unfortunately, died prior to the selection meeting Dec. 7.

The committee recognized her long-time contributions to the community in a variety of areas and chose to honor her for those efforts, emphasizing it was on the basis of that and not just as a posthumous honor.

“Barbara is a model community member. She is a friendly, quiet, but also forcefully compassionate witness to the world of human needs around us. She uses her time and talents to make Oxford a more vibrant, public-spirited and caring community,” wrote Cecilia Shore, on behalf of the Oxford Friends Meeting (Quakers).

She was a birthright Quaker and founding member of the Oxford Friends Meeting, which was established in 1990.

That nomination noted she worked to make Oxford beautiful in both music and in growing plants. She joined the Woman’s Music Club in 1965 and the Oxford Community Band in 1987. The band plays about seven performances a year and she not only played in the band but kept scrapbooks recording their history of performances, stories about the band and pictures.

She was active in the Des Fleurs Garden Club since 1991, assisting as the club carried out civic beautification projects such as the Inloes Park garden and landscaping at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

Shore’s nomination letter explained the honoree represented the Friends Meeting in the local Church Women United organization.

“In that role, every year she organizes the Meeting to contribute school kits and hygiene kits for people in need, both in the United States and abroad. She also annually contributes soup for the community Empty Bowls luncheon. Barbara has also participated annually in the L. Warren Nelson Memorial CROP Walk for hunger since 1991. This is an annual collaboration among Miami University, Oxford religious groups and the Oxford community to raise funds to end hunger not only locally but across the U.S. and world through Church World Service. In some years, Barbara has raised about half the contributions for the walk,” Shore wrote.

Another annual charitable event was also close of the heart of Barbara Diehl as explained in a letter by Alex Robinson, manager of Walk MS.

“Barbara began participating in the MS Walk in 1993 as a memorial to her husband, Handley’s, struggle with the disease. Barbara has been frequently recognized by the Ohio Valley Walk as a stellar fundraiser to fight multiple sclerosis. Since 2005, she has single-handedly raised over $46,600, and her lifetime fundraising is more than $80,000. She has consistently been listed among the Top 50 fundraisers for this area, twice being ranked first. She typically works to collect $3,000 to $5,000 from 165-180 donors (And she does all this without e-mail!),” Robinson wrote.

Another nomination was received from Dorothy Hurley, corresponding secretary of the Des Fleurs Garden Club noting the honoree’s public-spirited demeanor.

She wrote: “A model member of our community and the Des Fleurs Garden Club, she is friendly, quiet, but also a forceful compassionate example in a world of human needs. We applaud her strength and fortitude to do something about it. We are grateful that she uses her time and talents to make Oxford a more vibrant, public-spirited and caring community. She surely fulfills the goals of the Des Fleurs Garden Club - Knowing, Growing, Showing and Sharing. Her multifaceted contributions deserve recognition as a Citizen of the Years.”

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