Covington, Ind. - Naomi Evelyn (Barr) Ritenour Dewlen, 98, of Covington passed away at 8:20 a.m. EST Thursday, December 17, 2020 at The Waters of Covington.
Naomi was born on a farm near Newport, Indiana to the late Eddie Ellsworth and Ruth Underwood Barr. She was the youngest of five siblings, all of whom preceded her in death. She attended Newport High School graduating as Salutatorian of the class of 1940. That summer she met Frederick Malcolm "Mac" Ritenour at the Newport Skating rink and they were married at the Methodist Church parsonage in Perrysville October 31 of that same year. Sadly, Mac died unexpectedly May 23, 1955, and Naomi became a widow. In spite of that great loss, she stepped up and did an outstanding job taking care of her family as a single mother. During those years, she worked at Hall Freight Lines in Danville as well as teaching piano to some fifty students.
Naomi often remarked that some women are not blessed to have had even one truly wonderful husband, but she was blessed with two. She met John Maurice "Johnny" Dewlen at Paxton's Drugstore in Covington. He proposed, and she accepted on their first "real" date and they were married at Benson Chapel on March 16, 1958.
After only ten years of marriage Johnny died November 25, 1968, and once more she rose to the challenge and gave her all to loving and taking care of her family, a truly amazing mother and grandmother. After being widowed the second time, she worked at the Covington Elementary School, Community Action Program of Western Indiana, she owned and operated the Wabash Valley Flower Shop, and worked at the Waters of Covington for over twenty years retiring at age 86. She was a secretary at heart and loved jobs where she could type, file, and organize.
Naomi was given the gift of music. When she was six, the family moved into a house with a piano and soon she was able to play anything she could hear. She began playing for church about 1933 and did so nearly continuously until recent years. She played for innumerable funerals, weddings, groups, and soloists, and at one time played for a live weekly radio broadcast on WDAN in Danville.
She was involved in several community organizations: Mu Epsilon Lambda, Psi Iota Xi, and the Booklovers Club.
She was an avid reader, instilling in many of her descendants a love of reading. At one time she was much in demand to give book reviews for various organizations in Covington and surrounding communities. Not only a reader, she was a writer, writing a number of books, originally intended for the benefit of her family, but ultimately enjoyed by many in the community.
Naomi was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, David (Mary) Barr, Clifford (Mary) Barr, Dolores (Orville) Harms, and Norman (Mary) Barr, and a son, Philip Dewlen.
She is survived by children; Jeanie (John) Cooke of Danville, Illinois, Jim (Linda) Ritenour of Covington, Indiana, Vickie (John) Beasley of Stone Bluff, Indiana, Melody (Michael) Ellsperman of Newburgh, Indiana, Tom (Linda) Dewlen of Medanyville, Indiana, Robin (Kent) Adams of Monticello, Indiana, and a daughter-in-law, Judy Dewlen of Lafayette, Indiana, as well as sixteen grandchildren, twenty-seven great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
Private family services will be held at the Salem United Methodist Church in rural Covington, Indiana. Officiating: Rev. Tom Dewlen. Burial: Mount Hope Cemetery, Covington, Indiana. Contributions may be made to the Salem United Methodist Church, 1651 Salem Church Road, Covington, Indiana 47932. DeVerter Funeral Home in Cayuga, Indiana is assisting the family with arrangements.
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