Local Obits

Obituary of Janet Oechsle


In loving memory of Janet E. Oechsle, born November 9, 1951, wife, mother, leader, educator,
mentor and organizer of Homer, NY and Marathon, FL, who passed away on July 8, 2023, after a
brief illness, surrounded by her family. Janet is survived by her husband of fifty years Russ,
daughters Jeni and Amanda, and son Russell. She was also a cherished grandmother to Logan,
Faye, and Henry.

Janet’s favorite expression was “Goodness Brings Goodness,” and her light and spirit bound
itself to everyone she loved, met, worked with and taught. She was the consummate leader,
communicator and organizer of everything; ever dedicated to her family and causes to help her
Homer, NY and Marathon, FL communities. In Homer, NY, she served on the Boards of
Directors for the J.M. Murray Center and Access to Independence agencies and was a volunteer
member, and in most instances a long-time officer, of groups that included the Homer Garden
Club, the Sennightly Literary Guild, the Center for the Arts of Homer, the Order of the Eastern
Star, the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors and the Central New York Living
History Center. In Marathon, FL, she was a Board member of Voices for Florida Keys Children,
a charity dedicated to support children in foster programs and other life challenges, and served
for many years as chair of the Scholarship committee, helping dozens of young people reach
their higher education goals. She was a member and past Trustee of the Kirk of the Keys
Presbyterian Church; officer and member of the Marathon Garden Club and volunteer at the
Dolphin Research Center.

Janet dedicated her life to education, serving as a school teacher for an admirable span of 40
years starting at Randolph, MA Public Schools, then in the Fabius-Pompey, NY, School District
and finally rounding out the last half of her career in the Homer, NY Central Schools teaching
both Special Education and 5th Grade. She had a profound impact on the lives of her students.
She was so proud when so many of her former students told her that she had been their favorite
and most influential teacher. It’s hard to find a person in Homer that doesn’t know “Mrs.
Oechsle.” Her passion for science, fostered by her father, was evident through her organization
of school science fairs in both Fabius and Homer, where she encouraged young minds to explore
and discover. Janet's dedication and guidance inspired one of her science fair students to enter the
1999 National Science Fair competition and when he won against students from all over the
nation, despite being the youngest participant, he chose her, as his mentor, to have an asteroid –
actually designated “23995 Oechsle” and affectionately called “Janet Planet” by her family –
named in her honor, an enduring testament to her influence.

Janet’s legacy will continue to live on through the countless lives she impacted as a teacher,
mentor, and friend. She will forever be remembered for her zest for life, her love for travel, her
unwavering dedication and passion, and her ability to bring joy to those around her. Her
goodness brought goodness to all of those whose lives she touched.

Those interested in making meaningful contributions in Janet’s name are encouraged to do so by supporting Voices for Florida Keys Children, P.O. Box 2018, Islamorada, FL 33036 or at
voicekids.org, or to support the handicapped adult bowling league in Cortland County, NY by
contribution to Access to Independence, 26 N. Main St., Cortland, NY 13045, making reference
on the contribution to the “Sunday Strikers.”

Janet’s family and friends have scheduled a “Celebration of The Life and Times of Janet”
event on Friday, July 21 st from 6-9 p.m. at the Center for the Arts of Homer, 72 S. Main St.,
Homer, NY, 13077. All those who knew and loved Janet are welcomed to attend.

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