Barbara N. Stratman, 89, a former longtime businesswoman and charitable volunteer in Wilmington and in Clinton County, died early Tuesday in Madeira, Ohio following a short illness.
A 30-year resident of Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams neighborhood, Stratman also lived in Wilmington for 23 years where she and her husband raised the couple’s four children and built the family businesses.
“As with so many others of her generation, mom spent a lifetime breaking down barriers and fighting for greater equality for women. I stand on the shoulders of this ground-breaking woman,” said her daughter, Ann Stratman Leichty.
In 1977, Stratman was elected to serve as the first woman on Wilmington City Council, a position she held until 1984 following a failed bid for mayor.
She also served on the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission and was one of the founding directors of Homes of Wilmington, a local precursor of Habitat for Humanity.
With her husband Francis, who died in 1978, the couple built radio stations in Wilmington, Cincinnati and Georgetown as well as in Ripon, Wisconsin, beginning in the mid-1950s.
In the early 1970s, the couple also built cable television networks in Blanchester, Sabina and Wilmington.
From 1984 to 1987, she built and operated The Bookseller, a one-time Wilmington bookstore.
During the first decade that Wilmington College was home to the Cincinnati Bengals’ summer training camp beginning in 1968, the couple played host to numerous social events for team officials and media visiting Wilmington.
Stratman served on the board of trustees of Chatfield College during a time of when the school’s expansion plans were formulated. Chatfield operates two campuses, one in downtown Cincinnati and another in the Brown County community of St. Martin.
During her three decades living in Cincinnati, Stratman also volunteered with numerous charitable organizations including the Little Sisters of the Poor in Clifton; Tender Mercies, which works with homeless mentally ill adults; various soup kitchens in the city’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood; and with a literacy program in Cincinnati’s Lower Price Hill neighborhood.
Born June 24, 1927 in Cincinnati to Paul C. and Gertrude (Holters) Nordloh, Stratman grew up in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. She was a graduate of Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, and worked for several years as an occupational therapist in polio rehabilitation hospitals in Lexington, Kentucky and Madison, Wisconsin.
In her later years, she was a prolific ceramic artist and calligrapher. For the last 10 years, she knitted thousands of pairs of mittens for children in Hamilton and Highland counties.
Stratman is survived by four children, Karl and Paul of Cincinnati, Ann of Norwood, and Sam of Wilmington, and four grandchildren.
A memorial mass is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 25 at Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Chatfield College, 1544 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
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