Kathy Williams Oeder honored as Woman of Distinction

Kathy Williams Oeder was honored with the Woman of Distinction Award from Trine University during its Touchstone and Homecoming Celebration Dinner on Friday, Oct. 4.

She received the award after nearly 400 guests enjoyed a video presentation featuring images from throughout her lifetime.

“Kathy truly exemplifies being beautiful inside and out. She radiates a warmness that makes everyone feel welcome and immediately in the company of a reliable, fun and spunky friend,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “We are all truly better for knowing Kathy, because of the way that she cares for and treats others, and her commitment and dedication to her family, work, friends, community and to Trine University, all while living a life of faith. Kathy has helped enrich the lives of all those in her community and for the students, alumni and employees here at Trine.”

A life-long resident of Warren County, Ohio, Oeder’s summers, while growing up, were spent working at a local farm and at the A&W Root Beer Stand owned by her father. While raising her two children, she was employed by the Trane Heating and Air Conditioning Company and the General Electric Appliance Division. Eventually she decided to become self-employed with Mary Kay Cosmetics, and has remained with the company for 36 years, earning the title of senior director and receiving 16 cars, eight of which were the prestigious pink Cadillacs.

In 2009, she married member of the Trine University Board of Trustees and 1965 Tri-State University alumnus Richard Oeder. Together they share five children and 11 grandchildren, and operate the family business, Oeder’s Lake.   

A prominent community activist, Kathy Oeder spearheaded the formation of the Hamilton Township Business Expo Group in 2012. Through her dedication, the first Hamilton Township Business Touch-A-Truck event was held. The event is now in its seventh year with more than 5,000 annual attendees.

Kathy Oeder is a member of the Little Miami Chamber, Morrow Progress Club, Boomers Community Service Group, Morrow Historical Society, Warren County Historical Society and the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. She volunteers at Valley Vineyards, Salem-Morrow Fire Department Fish Fry, the Restored Machinery Club Show and the Cardboard Boat Regatta. In 2017, she was honored with the Little Miami Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award.

Richard and Kathy Oeder have remained loyal supporters to Richard’s alma mater, providing support to the Scholarship Gala and the Books and Beyond Scholarship Program, the Trine Fund, Thunder Athletics, and capital projects that include the Whitney Commons renovation, Fawick Hall, the Ryan Skywalk and the Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Inc. Athletic and Recreation Center.

“I have been truly impressed by the things I have seen happen at this university in the 17 years I’ve been coming up here with Richard,” Kathy Oeder said in accepting the award. “I just think it’s an incredible group that cares about this university and about what happens in this community. I thank the university and all the people I’ve met for this honor.”

The Woman of Distinction Award was first given in 2006 to honor Marjorie Bowstrom, a Tri-State University trustee. The award recognizes the powerful contributions of women in the areas of philanthropy, business and education, and is presented annually to a woman judged by the university to mirror the attributes represented by Bowstrom. It signifies the university's high regard for the lofty achievements of today's female leaders.

Photo: Kathy Williams Oeder, seated next to her husband, Richard Oeder, watches a video featuring images from throughout her lifetime presented as part of the Woman of Distinction Award during Trine University's Touchstone and Homecoming Celebration Dinner on Oct. 4. (Photo by Dean Orewiler)