In Memoriam 2021
PARKERSBURG — The 2021 compilation of Notable Deaths includes renowned residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
∫ Diana Rosemary “Diane”Bailes Ludwig, 68, of Elizabeth, died Dec. 13. She was executive director of the Little Kanawha Area Development Corp. from March 2002 to December 2019.
∫ Dennis W. Cox, 73, of Vienna, died Nov. 28. Cox was the dean of students and an administrator at Ohio Valley University where he worked 45 years. He started the men’s golf team, was coach of the year and led the team to the conference championship.
∫ Shana Lee Modesitt, 49, of Parkersburg, died Nov. 28. She was a detective with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.
∫ Paul Borrelli, 93, of Parkersburg, died Nov. 24. He was the long-time proprietor of Artcraft Studio where thousands of negatives and photographs of local history, notable residents, events and old buildings were kept.
∫ Gary L. Farris, 74, of Parkersburg, died Nov. 10. A U.S. Navy veteran, he was the founder of the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
∫ Paul S. Bibbee, 79, of Leachtown, died on Nov. 3. A teacher, photographer and fan of WVU football and basketball, he was a member of the Wood County Historical Society where he was instrumental in the development of the Phelps/Tavenner Research Center and the Wood County Republican Executive Committee.
∫ Herman “Zerg” Zerger Jr., 97, Woodsfield, died on Oct. 22. A decorated World War II veteran who was captured by the German SS in February 1945 after 300 days of fighting at the front, he was the longest-serving county Democratic Party chairman in Ohio history and a member of numerous veterans organizations.
∫ Richard Brian Allen, 76, of Parkersburg, died Oct. 20. He was mamager of the Wood County Airport from 1976 to 1990.
∫ Daniel “Dan” Ray Ritchey, 60, of Reno, died Oct. 18. He was the acting chief of the Reno Volunteer Fire Department where he was a member for 45 years.
∫ Woodrow David Miller, 66, of Parkersburg, died on Oct. 10. He was president of the Parkersburg Homecoming.
∫ Penelope Ann Powell Bailey, 94, formerly of Parkersburg, died on Oct. 2. She served on the Wood County Board of Education and ran on the campaign slogan “A Penny for Your Thoughts.”
∫ Earl O. Totten, 77, of Little Hocking, died Sept. 30. He was the EMS coordinator at Camden Clark Medical Center where he retired after 40 years of service.
∫ Dr. Paul G. Modie Jr., 84, formerly of Parkersburg, most recently of Hockingport, died Sept. 26. His surgical practice spanned 1969 to 2010.
∫ Thomas R. Kearns, 62, of Waterford, died Sept. 20. He served on the Wolf Creek Schools Board of Education.
∫ Steven Douglas Davis, 58, of Pennsboro, died on Sept. 20. Active in the community, Davis was on Pennsboro City Council at the time of his passing.
∫ Bruce Walter Holmes, 73, of Williamstown, died Sept. 18. He served on the board at Camden Clark Medical Center where he was a patient adviser, served on the Patient and Family Centered Care Steering Committee, helped start a pet visitation program, helped design the Care Partner program and served on the boards of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Consumer Credit Counseling.
∫ Dr. James M. Mills, 94, of Lower Salem, died Sept. 17. He was a long-time dentist and the 1999 Ohio Tree Farmer of the Year.
∫ Kevin A. Rings, 58, of Marietta, died Sept. 17. He was a former prosecuting attorney for Washington County.
∫ Tony Weber, 63, of Marietta, died Aug. 26. Weber, who owned Weber’s Grocery, served on Marietta City Council.
∫ Pamela Jackson Thomas, 84, of Belpre, died Aug. 25. She founded the offset printing business Ohio Valley Press in Belpre and operated the business in the 1960s and 1970s, was the co-executive director of the Ohio River Trails and co-managed the Ohio River National Scenic Byway with her husband, Dick, who was a mayor of Belpre.
∫ David Kenneth Hearing, 55, of Marietta, died Aug. 23. He was a former owner and chef at the Levee House.
∫ Lois Gene Jackley Padden, 96, of Vienna died Aug. 19. A Eucharistic minister through the Pastoral Care Department at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital, she served on the hospital’s board of directors for 20 years.
∫ Lynn William Phair, 86, of St. Marys died Aug. 19 in Midlothian, Va. He was the plant manager at Union Carbide in Sisterville, directed the plant through two ownerships and retired as vice president of international operations for OSi Chemicals.
∫ Larry Lee Goodwin, 74, of Vienna died Aug. 18. He was an assistant chief of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department where he was a member for 50 years. He was the 2002 Fireman of the Year, served 12 years on the state Fire Commission, was co-chairman of the state Fallen Firefighters Memorial committee and was a Vienna Recreation commission tee ball coach for many years.
∫ Sarah Elizabeth Parr Board, 96, of Parkersburg, died Aug. 5. She retired as chief deputy for the Wood County Clerk.
∫ Robert “Bob” Duane Wable, 84, of Sistersville died Aug. 1. The owner of Wable Ford Mercury in Sistersville, he served on Sistersville City Council, five terms as mayor of Sistersville, a member of the Tyler County Commission for 30 years, the County Elected Officials Association, the County Commission Association, the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council, the Sistersville Jaycees, the Sistersville Alumni Association, the Sistersville General Hospital Board of Managers and was on the board of directors and trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of Sistersville, First Tyler Bank and Trust Company-WesBanco, the WesBanco Wheeling Board of Directors and Union Bank.
∫ Frank Leonard Christy, 73, of Marietta died July 29. Starting in 1973 with Christy and Associates with his wife Mary Lou, the company developed Greenhill Village Apartments in Belpre and a Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse in Parkersburg, but over the years developed restaurants, hotels and commercial properties in Ohio, West Virginia and Florida where the company developed the Hampton Inn and Suites in Vero Beach. Christy, who received the Marietta Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year award in 1987, was a prominant community leader. Serving on the boards of banks, Marietta College and St. Joseph’s Hospital Board, he was a supporter of the Becky Thatcher Showboart, the River Cities Symphony and the restoration of The Colony Theatre, helped bring hot lunches back to Marietta City Schools, helped found Marietta in Bloom and led the effort to bring dial-up internet service to Marietta. Christy also was a musician, playing keyboards and guitar in rock and roll bands including Rudy and the Flamers featuring the Fabulous Flamettes with his wife and friends.
∫ Dr. George Whitmore “Whit” Hancock Jr., 79, of Marietta died July 14. He was a physics professor and chairman of the Department of Physics at Marietta College. He was instrumental in the development of the Environmental Sciences Program, the College Honors Program and organized the acquisition of the Phi Beta Kappa clock, among other accolades. The Anderson-Hancock Planetarium at the college was named after him.
∫ Joe Astorg, 84, of Vienna died on June 28. A collector of Lionel model trains, Astorg founded Astorg Buick in 1974 and Astorg Mercedes-Benz in 1977.
∫ Barbara Jane Wood Salter, 80, of Parkersburg died June 15. She was a chairman of the Municipal Planning Commission in Parkersburg and was president of the Junior League for two terms. She and her husband, Ron, in 1980 established the marketing firm Salter and Associates.
∫ David Lee Rice, 73, of Parkersburg died May 3. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Rice three times ran for president of the United States, the last time in 2020.
∫ Glenn O. Miller, 85, of Beverly died on April 26. A stout Republican and a former Washington County Commissioner who loved to dance, especially polkas, Miller established Miller’s TV Cable in 1963 and sold it in 1988.
∫ Dr. William Hall Miller, 89, of Belpre died April 19. A long time dentist, he was on the Board of Directors for the Belpre Savings Bank as president, was past president of the Belpre Lions Club and Belpre Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Ohio Dental Association, Muskingum Dental Association and American Dental Association.
∫ Clarence F. Full, 91, of Davisville died April 12. He served on the board of the Wood County Sports Association and enjoyed playing harmonica and guitar.
∫ Henry “Nelson” Benedict Jr., 85, of Cutler died April 10. He was a Warren Township Trustee for over 30 years.
∫ Kenneth Gilbert, 78, of Parkersburg died April 10. An accomplished arts educator, he founded and directed the Mountain Trace Folklore Program at Parkersburg High School where students produced three books on West Virginia Heritage and Culture and a history of Parkersburg High. Gilbert wrote and illustrated the “Blennerhassett Sketch Book” and the children’s book “Tilly Hen.” A recipient of a Fullbright Scholarship to teach in England for a year., he was appointed by Govs. Cecil Underwood and Bob Wise as Human Rights Commissioner in West Virginia.
∫ Herman W. “June” Buskirk Jr., 90, of St. Petersburg, Fla., formerly of Parkersburg died April 6. He retired as production manager at The Parkersburg News after 47 years.
∫ Nona Boice Beebe Janks, 96, died April 1. An inspector of the B-26 Marauder bombers during World War II, she was the owner of the former Mecca Restaurant in Marietta.
∫ Robert M. Wark, 78, of Marietta died on March 30. Wark was a well-known Certified Public Accountant.
∫ Kenny Wright, 83, of Parkersburg died March 30. He was a successful football coach in Ritchie County, a charter member of the West Virginia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and led Ritchie County High School to six state championship playoffs in the last years of his tenure.
∫ William Barnett St. Clair, 65, of Parkersburg died March 27. A Marshall University graduate, St. Clair was a newspaper reporter for the The Parkersburg Sentinel.
∫ George Pantelidis, 81, of Parkersburg died on March 21. Known as George the Tailor, he apprenticed in Greece and opened his own shop making custom suits and clothing. He fulfilled a dream for his family and came to America in 1969, working first in Philadelphia, then moving to Parkersburg to become the head tailor at Stern Brothers. Within a year he opened George’s Tailor Shop,
operated for 35 years on Market Street and another eight years in Vienna before retiring.