Naomi L. Woolever

Naomi L. Woolever, of Montoursville, longtime newspaper woman, and past president of the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association, died on July 21, 2014, at Williamsport.

She retired in 1988 as editor-in-chief of the National Grit.

She was the daughter of S. Bruce and Kathryn (Schmid) Woolever.

She was predeceased by a sister, Katherine W. Shimer, of Milton.

Survivors are Holly S. Saunders, of Boston, and Katherine R. Shimer, of Montoursville.

Born in Plunketts Creek Township, she was descended from frontier settlers in the Loyalsock Valley, her ancestors having arrived in that area about 1794.

Ms. Woolever began her newspaper career in 1944 as social editor of the Gazette and Bulletin, a morning publication owned by the Sun-Gazette Company.

In 1953, she moved to the editorial staff of the evening newspaper, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, where she was woman’s editor and later associate city editor until 1974.

From 1951 until 1964, she served also in a part-time capacity as Lycoming College’s director of publicity.

She joined the faculty at Williamsport Area Community College, now Pennsylvania College of Technology, in 1974 as assistant professor of journalism.

In 1976, she moved to Grit Publishing Company as national editor, later becoming managing editor, and, in 1981, advancing to editor-in-chief.

The Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association cited her as Pennsylvania Newswoman of the Year with an award to attend the American Press Institute at Columbia University.

She specialized in interviewing notables who came to the Williamsport area, including General George C. Marshall and Mrs. Marshall, who vacationed at Eagles Mere in 1955. The same year she interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt when the first lady was in Williamsport for a speaking engagement.

In 1960, when Rose Kennedy was stumping for her son, John F. Kennedy, Ms. Woolever interviewed Mrs. Kennedy.

Pearl S. Buck, the author of The Good Earth, was one of Ms. Woolever’s first interviewees when the former was at Lycoming College for the adoption of a Korean orphan.

She won 12 state awards for writing, given by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association and the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors.

She served on the board of directors of the National Federation of Press Woman and for many years was a career consultant for high school and college journalism classes. Her writing appeared frequently in professional journals.

A 1940 graduate of Montoursville High School, she received a bachelor of science degree in music education from The Pennsylvania State University and a master of arts degree in journalism from Penn State, later pursuing doctoral work there in speech communication.

She was elected to Phi Kappa Phi, general studies honor society and to Kappa Tau Alpha, national journalism honor society.

She was a past president and life member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association.

A past state officer of the American Association of University Women, she was president of the Williamsport Branch of AAUW and received that organization’s Woman of the Year Award.

She was president of the Williamsport Soroptimist Club, a classified service club for women, and president of the Clio Club. She was a member of the Williamsport Woman’s Club.

She was listed in Who’s Who in America and was the first woman elected to membership in the Ross Club in 1981 and was among the first women to play in the Repasz Band, where she played clarinet. She was one of the first women to play in the Penn State Blue Band.

She at one time, served on the board of the Friends of the James V. Brown Library and on the board of managers of the Williamsport Home.

She was formerly a member of the Williamsport Country Club, the Wheel Inn, the Thomas T. Taber Historical Museum, and the General John Burrows Historical Society and was a lifelong member of Faith United Methodist Church, Montoursville.

A memorial graveside service will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 25, in Wildwood Cemetery with Rev. Larry L. Leland officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701.

Arrangements are being handled by Spitler Funeral Home, Montoursville.