Marcie Oberndorf-Kelso speaks of her mom’s legacy

Marcie Oberndorf-Kelso

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach will say goodbye to its longest-serving Mayor, Meyera Oberndorf, on Monday.

On Sunday, crews at the Virginia Beach Convention Center worked hard to get the facility ready. Oberndorf passed away Friday morning after a long battle with dementia.

Her daughter, Marcie Oberndorf-Kelso, spoke with 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings. She expressed her gratitude for the support of the community as they prepare to bury their mother, and how fitting to have the services at the Virginia Beach Convention Center – a place that opened during her time as mayor.

“To say that she deeply loved this community was an understatement,” said Oberndorf-Kelso.

That truth was shown in her work. Oberndorf became the city’s first elected mayor and a proud advocate for the beach. After all, it was home. Oberndorf-Kelso moved to Charlotte years ago, but Virginia Beach was always home for her too.

“It’s nice to be able to come back home, and it has really been heartwarming to come back home and have so many people surrounding us who share our love for my mom,” said Oberndorf-Kelso.

That love echoed by many who knew her. Joel Rubin, a close family friend, is planning Monday’s service.

“I loved Meyera Oberndorf just the way thousands of other people in Virginia Beach and throughout Hampton Roads loved Meyera Oberndorf,” Rubin explained. “It was an honor to work with Meyera and to know Meyera and to be her friend, and it’s an honor to help plan her service.”

Oberndorf-Kelso said friends and family from all over the country have gathered to support her and her sister, Heide, in remembering their mother – a woman whose impact was far and wide.

“Beyond the immediate family, the entire community was her family and by extension our family. So therefore we’re not having to do this by ourselves,” said Oberndorf-Kelso.

Meyera Oberndorf spent the last year in Charlotte, NC as she battled Alzheimer’s disease. She was not far from Oberndorf-Kelso. It was time with her mom, Oberndorf-Kelso says, she was grateful to have had.

“I’m sure that I’m going to miss her everyday, but I’m very lucky that I have the legacy to have to comfort me through that,” Marcie said.

Meyera Oberndorf will be buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Hampton next to her husband Roger and near where her parents and other family members are buried.

The service to remember Meyera Oberndorf will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

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