Newark, Del.–Marilyn Minster-Ostheimer, who helmed one of America’s oldest jewelry stores for seven decades, died Dec. 28. She was 87.
Minster-Ostheimer got into the jewelry business in 1945 at the age of 15.
According to an article about her passing in the Newark (Delaware) Post, she was friends with William Minster, the teenage son of the second-generation owner of J.J. Minster Jewelers, which then was located in Elkton, Maryland.
She hung around the store so much that John Henry Minster suggested she start working there, and so she did.
Minster-Ostheimer eventually married William Minster and, in 1955, helped the family open a second store in Newark, Delaware.
She took over the business, today called Minster’s Jewelers, in the 1960s when her husband retired due to health problems. He later died and she remarried.
Over the years, Minster-Ostheimer became a respected member of the Newark business community, spearheading the revitalization of downtown and, particularly, the renovation of the Newark Shopping Plaza, where her store is the oldest tenant.
The Newark Post reported that she was considered by many to be the “dean of the Newark business community” and also was a strong supporter of the arts in that town.
Two days after her death, her son, Will Minster, posted this on Facebook: “Every Main Street has their champion, and Newark and, before that, Elkton has lost a great one. For 70 of Minster’s Jewelers 122 years, she ran the business with pride. Many cannot remember how difficult it was for a female business owner in the ‘60s. She broke the barriers and refused to be denied.”
Will Minster told National Jeweler via Facebook Messenger that the store, which is marking 123 years in business this year, will continue.
Minster-Ostheimer is survived by her second husband, Henry Ostheimer; son, Will; and two daughters, Melissa Minster and Alice Minster Cody.
Funeral services are private.