Odette Marselle “Dee” Stoffel, 102, died peacefully at home on Oct. 29, 2023. Born in Uniontown, Ohio on Dec. 11, 1920, growing up on a small farm in nearby rural Myersville, the only child of Raymond and Helene (Dorn) Feikert, she kept vivid memories of swimming in a branch of the Tuscarawas River with her best friend, Goldie Spriggles, and selling vegetables with her dad at the Farmers Market in Akron, snagging an ice cream for the trip home. The house had room for a piano, which began a lifelong passion.
While attending Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio she met her husband of 69 years, Lester L. Stoffel. He was instantly smitten after eyeing her at a football game, her blond hair a sharp contrast to a red coat. With graduation came enlistment; they married in June 1943 before Les was deployed to Europe. After a brief stint with her in-laws, she found a garden apartment in Lakewood, Ohio, and sent off a note to her new husband: there was room for a piano! Before he could reply to suggest more practical furniture given limited funds, he received a photo of Odette with the piano.
On his return, Les studied library science before they moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, where he settled in as head librarian. With three children in tow, in 1955 he took the top job at the Oak Park Public Library where they would stay for the next 20 years. She worked part time in an office, but her love was music: she served as choir organist for First Presbyterian Church in Oak Park and had a steady stream of private students. Her passion also provided “pocket money” to fund her love of shopping, particularly for hats and shoes, necessary for a complete outfit. An active community volunteer, she worked alongside her friend Carolyn Poplett at the Nineteenth Century Woman’s Club.
Les and Odette had fun arguing about politics and competing in games and sports (sometimes fiercely), from bridge tournaments to tennis matches, and continued to play golf together into their 80s. Avid travelers, they checked off each of the U.S. National Parks before adding Mexico, Central America, Europe and Asia. It was after a visit to Paris that Odette dropped her long-used nickname of Dee and embraced her given name.
Odette Stoffel is survived, and will be greatly missed, by her children, Carol (John) Allen, Christopher, Jennifer Stoffel (Stephen Phillips); her grandchildren, Leslie Allen, Chad (Chrissy) Allen, Alexander Phillips; and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lester, in (2012).