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Norman Oxley

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Norman Oxley Obituary
MONFORT HEIGHTS - In the late 1950s, New Yorkers Norman and Betsy Oxley moved to Cincinnati's West Side and became friends with a neighbor, George Smith, who was the head men's basketball coach and later athletic director at the University of Cincinnati.

So began Mr. Oxley's long relationship with UC sports.

Although not a UC graduate, he "epitomized everything you want a great Bearcat to be," said Bill Mulvihill, a former senior associate athletic director at UC, now executive vice president of the UC Foundation.

Mr. Oxley, a longtime White Oak resident, died Thursday of liver cancer. He was 84.

At first, Mr. Oxley simply went to football and basketball games, and became a season-ticket holder. Soon he befriended the football equipment manager, and began helping in the locker room.

"He'd go hours before the games and help the equipment guys get all the stuff set up," said a daughter, Cynthia Oxley of Mount Auburn.

Said Mulvihill: "No job was too demeaning for Norm on game day, from picking up wet towels to helping clean out locker rooms."

He traveled to almost all away football games, paying his own way. In the days before players got hot meals on planes, Mr. Oxley would spread out a sheet on a hotel bed and help prepare the sack lunches players ate after games.

"He would cut out every article that mentioned one of the kids, and he would tape it to their locker," Cynthia Oxley said.

"The beauty of Norm," Mulvihill said, "was that he always (understood) that the joy was in giving and not receiving. He gave of his time and some of his treasure to benefit student-athletes."

When he moved to Cincinnati, Mr. Oxley was a salesman for a cocoa company. He later was a manufacturing rep for products including cookies.

"We used to get skids of chocolate chip cookies," courtesy of Mr. Oxley, recalled Bernie Meese of Fort Mitchell, retired assistant director of the UCATS booster club.

"A lot of the football players called him the cookie man," said another daughter, Carrie Simone of Springboro.

"Probably the most special and important thing about him is, every day he did something for somebody else," Cynthia Oxley said.

Mr. Oxley enjoyed the team's recent rise to national prominence. He attended the Orange Bowl after the 2008 season and the Sugar Bowl after the 2009 season.

Mr. Oxley was diagnosed with liver cancer just before Christmas.

On New Year's Eve, the Bearcats played Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl. "We all stayed (home) and watched it with him," Cynthia Oxley said.

Twelve days later Mr. Oxley died. Like his beloved Bearcats, those who know him say, he went out a winner.

In addition to his daughters, survivors include his wife of 58 years, Betsy Ameer Oxley of Monfort Heights; another daughter, Claudia Farmer of Colerain Township; a sister, Peggy Snyder of Yonkers, N.Y.; and six grandchildren. Services have been held.

Memorials: UC Foundation, P.O. Box 19970, Cincinnati, OH, 45219; or Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229.

Written by John Johnston | <jjohnston@enquirer.com">jjohnston@enquirer.com">jjohnston@enquirer.com">jjohnston@enquirer.com
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer from Jan. 18 to Jan. 19, 2012
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