Kaye Goetz Oliver

Kaye Goetz Oliver's love for crafts came full Circle

Kaye Goetz Oliver's love for crafts came full Circle

September 29, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Kaye E. Oliver, who died Sept. 21 at the age of 66. Her obituary was published in the Sept. 23 edition of The Herald-Mail.

GERRARDSTOWN, W.Va. - In the fall of 1958, Kaye Goetz headed out to the Red Bridge Roller Rink near Chambersburg, Pa., for an evening of skating, not knowing that her life was about to change forever.

"I spotted her and then I started to chase her," said Mell Oliver, who was from McConnellsburg, Pa. "She definitely caught my eye."

Mell, who was 18, got up the courage to approach her and soon they began to date.

"Her parents weren't thrilled with me," Mell said. They had two reasons why they weren't thrilled - Kaye was only 17 and Mell worked on a farm.


Nonetheless, their feelings for each other grew, and when Mell announced that he was going into the National Guard, Kaye suggested they get married before he left.

"She proposed to me. I said, 'OK,' and we did," Mell said. Even her parents had gotten used to the idea, and Kaye's father gave his permission for the marriage since Kaye was underage.

They stayed in Pennsylvania for a number of years and began raising their family. A first daughter, Paula, died shortly after her first birthday. Then came Kaye Marie and Nelson.

Mell commuted to his job at Mack Trucks, where he worked from 1963 to 1994. Kaye worked at a High's store in Hagerstown from 1971 to 1976.

"We began looking for a piece of land in the country," Mell said. They settled on the outskirts of Gerrardstown.

"Kaye and I just love the country," Mell said.

Kaye later began working in Martinsburg at a mill, where she operated an embroidery machine and dabbled in sales. Her love of crafts, flowers and doing arrangements for weddings eventually led her to begin Circle K Florists out of her home.

"She taught a lot of people crafts right here in her house," said her son, Nelson, pointing to a large open area off the living rooms where tables often were set up for her classes.

The business started slowly and grew, Nelson said. People still come up to him now and tell him how much they enjoyed taking craft classes from his mother.

"Even one of the hospice nurses who took care of her had been in the classes," said Kaye's daughter-in-law, Darlene, who lives with Nelson and their two children, Savannah and Dakota, just over the hill from Mell and Kaye's home.

Before Kaye became ill in January, she had a shop in a shed next to the house. She peddled her wares at shows and festivals around the area, Mell said.

Through her jobs, her child-rearing years and her fascination with crafts and flowers, Kaye still managed to find the time for church and the needs of the global community.

"I first knew Mell and Kaye at Montgomery Brethren in Christ Church in Mercersburg, Pa.," said the Rev. Raymond R. Martin, who then was a lay person. "My wife baby-sat Nelson in the church nursery there."

In 1993, the Bunker Hill Brethren in Christ Church was started and Martin became the pastor. The Olivers joined the church, where Kaye got involved with New Life for Girls, teaching crafts to the young women involved in that program.

Kaye became the organist at the Bunker Hill church even though she was self-taught on that instrument.

"She wasn't good with sharps," Martin said of Kaye's playing. "If a song I chose had sharps in it, she just told me to pick another."

She was faithful at that endeavor for the past 10 years along with teaching Sunday school, preparing food and establishing a clothing ministry in a barn at the Olivers' home eight years ago.

Gift of Love in Faith will continue even though Kaye is gone, Mell said. New and used clothing, shoes and other items are collected, packaged and shipped to such places at Haiti, Africa and Romania as well as locally to families whose homes were damaged by fire.

"My family is here for me and my church family is, too," Mell said of his adjustment to life without Kaye. He was thankful that their daughter, Kaye Marie Jetton, and her family were able to return home to be with Kaye in her final days.

Martin said Kaye's involvement in good works at the church, her crafts and her family was an inspiration.

"She touched so many lives," he said.

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