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Wheeling Woman Struck, Killed By Car

Local artist was known for her work on Nativity scenes at Oglebay

WHEELING — Local artist Jean Och, who was known for her work with the Nativity scene at Oglebay Park, was struck and killed by a vehicle Monday afternoon in Wheeling.

Wheeling police responded to the accident shortly before 3:15 p.m. at 101 Washington Ave. near Valley View Avenue.

Och, 90, was struck while crossing Washington Avenue. She was taken to Wheeling Hospital, where officials said she died of multiple trauma-related injuries.

Och was well known among many, including in the art community. In particular, she was remembered fondly for her work with the Nativity scene at Oglebay Park during Christmas, which she recreated in the 1980s using period-accurate materials to adorn the figures.

G. Randolph Worls, chairman of the Oglebay Foundation, said Och and her late husband, Bob Och, were close friends of his, and of Oglebay.

“Jean was a very close friend, she and her husband were, and Jean was an outstanding artist,” Worls said. “Really, the biggest thing she’s done for us, and had continued to do up until just now, was … our Nativity scene.”

In more recent years, Och’s daughter, Holly Och, had been assisting her mother with the Nativity scene, and Worls hopes she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps and continue to assist Oglebay.

Wheeling police said Tuesday that the driver was not at fault, and the driver was not expected to be cited. Wheeling police Lt. Josh Sanders said the matter is still under investigation.

“Because it resulted in the death of the subject, we want to cross all our T’s and dot our I’s,” Sanders said.

Funeral arrangements are pending with Kepner Funeral Home in Wheeling.

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