Community West Blog

Bill & Jill Oatey - Making God’s Love Visible

Posted by Linda Spencer on Thu, Jan 02, 2020

Bill n Jill Oatey n Award

Bill and Jill Oatey make God’s love visible by their compassion and genuine concern for others. Their capacity to serve others runs deep and so does their spirit of giving. Both were raised by parents who demonstrated the powerful life lessons of caring for others, kindness and service. Bill and Jill embraced these guiding principles and their lives truly honor the parents they loved so dearly.

The couple met in junior high school and their friendship continued through high school where they dated before going to college. Bill went on to Wittenberg University and Jill to Eastern Kentucky University. The two continued their relationship and married soon after graduation.

Bill enjoyed a successful 40 year career at the Oatey Company, founded by his grandfather, L.R. Oatey in 1916. The company, a quintessential tale of American success, has grown to become a respected business, known worldwide as a leader in manufacturing high-quality plumbing products. While working at the Oatey Company in a variety of administrative positions, Bill attended night classes at Baldwin Wallace College and graduated with an MBA. Bill is now semi-retired but still serves on the Oatey Board and also manages the Oatey Family Foundation.

Jill is licensed in both social work and professional counseling and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Services from John Carroll University and post-Masters certification from Ashland Theological Seminary. From both her professional and personal life experience, Jill recognizes faith and spirituality as sources of healing. Her gifts of encouragement and blend of insight and wisdom are a natural extension of her commitment to service. Jill works at ArborGate Associates, a Christian Counseling firm, and also at Bay Presbyterian Church and has volunteered at North Coast Health Ministry.

The couple’s generosity of time and resources are well known, as are their grace and goodness. It is the Oateys’ commitment to giving something back through public service that gives them the most satisfaction. Both Bill and Jill have been very involved with Community West Foundation and have a deep appreciation and dedication to our mission. Bill’s commitment to the Foundation is illustrated by his fifteen years of service – including four as Chair of the Board. He has advanced the Foundation’s work through his quiet strength, sensitivity and tireless dedication. Jill has been a longtime friend and supporter of Community West and a well-respected presence on the Partners Board where she attends site visits and poverty simulations to learn more about the needs in our community.

They have demonstrated a great capacity for generosity by creating the Mr. and Mrs. William R. Oatey Fund at Community West Foundation, supporting a large number of causes and philanthropic initiatives. They are among the most active benefactors at Community West Foundation and the scope of their philanthropy is remarkable, gifting to many causes and organizations through their Donor Advised Fund.

And, they lend their voices and time for social good. Their benevolent efforts have made a profound difference to communities close to home and around the globe as champions of environmental responsibility.

A topic of great concern to the Oateys is the scarcity of water for some of the poorest people in the world. After learning about Living Waters for the World and the water purification systems they were installing for basic sanitation and clean water, Bill helped to form Bay Presbyterian’s Guatemalan mission team and joined in their field work. These trips made a lasting impact on his heart. He is so committed to this cause he joined the Living Waters Board to help areas desperate for water. He also donates to Water Mission, a clean water charity in Charleston, South Carolina, and to nonprofit Drink Local. Drink Tap., committed to connecting people to local water, whether on the Great Lakes or in Uganda. Jill’s church mission trip took her to Jamaica to help rebuild the school there and build a driveway in front of Gordon Town Methodist Church. She felt it was a great experience that allowed her to work together with the local people and see the success of the projects and the impact it made on the community.

Avid health enthusiasts, Bill and Jill are true outdoor adventurers and enjoy many athletic activities including kayaking, hiking, skiing, sailing and traveling. Greatest of all is Bill and Jill’s love and devotion that they have for their family; daughter Lisa and her husband, John; son Mason and his wife Amy; and son Blake and his wife, Christine; and their six beautiful grandchildren. The Oateys are role models and have set a real example of passing on their strong Christian faith to their children.

Bill and Jill are quick to recognize God’s goodness in others. And, God’s goodness surely shines brightly within their lives, Illuminating Hope.