The next generation
Donald Roderick Ober was the son of Woodbury and Jane Ober. He met Vibeke Eriksen of Denmark here in Orange County and and they married in 1965.
Don joined Orange Presbyterian Church in 1948. Vibeke joined shortly after the couple married.
Vibeke still speaks today about the warmth of the congregation and how welcome she felt.
The Obers have two children, son Poul Hambleton Ober and daughter Ellen Eriksen Ober.
Don serves the church
Don was elected a Deacon, then ordained and installed an Elder. He was active in the Men of the Church. Don was also involved with Hunters for the Hungry. This program delivered venison that was available to the Food Pantry.
Don also helped with maintaining the church property. He organized workdays for members to help with clean-up.
The President Madison Inn
The President Madison Inn (PMI) adjoins Orange Presbyterian Church. At one time this hotel was owned by the Sherman family. In 1977 they sold it to John Markham. He converted it to an adult living facility.
Part of the process involved filling in PMI's unused swimming pool. A group of OPC members offered to help. Don Ober and Ann Somerville were two of those volunteers.
The Episcopalian Ladies started a lunch program for the PMI residents. Vibeke was part of the group from OPC that helped with this program.
Vibeke serves the church
In 1975, Vibeke led the church kindergarten class. She worked with the church Youth Group alongside Ann Garnett Sparks.
Vibeke was also active in the Women of the Church in the 1980s. She was chair of Ecumenical Missions and Relations. She headed the Luncheon Circle for several years. Vibeke also enjoyed putting flowers in the church on occasional Sundays.
Vibeke joined the Board of Deacons in 1986. She was chair of the Fellowship Committee when the Shepherd Groups went active. In 1988, Vibeke was ordained and installed in the Session.
Don and Vibeke Ober opened their farm, Rounton, for several years for the annual church picnic. Everyone brought their own lunch and chair, and there were games for the children.
Their daughter Ellen, and husband, Rob Pitera, now live at Rounton Farm with their two sons, Charlie and Douglas. With Vibeke, they turned the farm into an event venue welcoming many groups.
Don and Vibeke's son Poul and his wife Priscilla have two children, Olivia and Douglas.
Don Ober passed away in 2013. His family remains dedicated to Orange County in many ways -- through the school system, youth groups, and their place of worship.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team
Woodbury Swan and Jane McLennan Ober both joined Orange Presbyterian Church (OPC) in January of 1950. The couple's son, Donald (Don) Roderick Ober joined OPC in 1948. Their daughter, Jane McLennan Ober joined in January of 1952.
Don Ober married Vibeke Ericksen and they had two children: Poul and Ellen. (More on this another time!)
The Obers help Grymes Memorial School
Woodbury was on the board of directors for the National Bank and Trust Co. The family lived at Elmwood Farm in Orange County. In 1955, the Obers helped Grymes School by donating 32 acres on Spicer’s Mill Road for their new campus. The school broke ground that September.
An active life in the church
Shortly after joining, Woodbury and Jane Ober donated one hundred hymnals to the church. Woodbury was elected Deacon at OPC for the class of 1956. In 1962 he was elected an Elder.
Gifts for the new sanctuary
After the congregation moved into the new sanctuary, the Obers donated a lovely communion cloth for the communion table. Jane was also selected to design and oversee the installation of the landscaping around the new sanctuary.
She also designed and had built lovely candelabras for our Christmas celebrations. They are still today, unique in their style and a wonderful addition to our sanctuary.
Finding a new manse
A committee for Manse Development was formed in 1973, and Jane was part of it. The committee's task was to procure a new manse for the church, either by building or purchasing. After much research into building a home, it was decided to purchase instead. OPC bought a house on Rapidan Road in the Town of Orange. The cost was the same as the estimates the committee received for buying a lot and building a house.
Jane Ober also served on a ‘long range planning committee’ for the church. Its function was to study the long range needs of the church and the development of the physical plant.
Woodbury's Bible challenge
In April of 1973, OPC's newsletter, the Presbyterian Punch, published a Bible Quote feature, prepared by Woodbury Ober. The quote had some of words missing, and the reader had to fill in the spaces. As Woodbury explained, “There were no prizes other than the great joy that comes from studying God’s Word.” This feature ran for six months.
Woodbury Ober passed away in January of 1975, and Jane Ober passed away in September of 1975.
The following was written by J. Russell Bailey and posted in the Presbyterian Punch in memory of Jane McLennon Ober:
“Every time we go to our church we see the handiwork of our friend and faithful member, Jane Ober. She served on our Building Committee. She gave of herself and means to accomplish the church landscaping and many other unnamed benefits. She added beauty to our Christmas celebration. But so much more than these, she was the mother of a fine family and the wife of a marvelous Christian. What an inspiration she has been to that family and to our church! We are all so grateful for her life among us.”
In 1976, OPC received a $10,000 gift from Mrs. Jane Ober’s trust estate. There were
no restrictions on the use of the funds. But it was Jane's hope that one half of the gift would be used for beautification of the church grounds.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team