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Memorial Day service at Arbovale

Charles Sheets, President
Arbovale Cemetery Association

The Arbovale Cemetery Association invites members of the community and especially family and friends of loved ones who were laid to rest in the Arbovale Cemetery during the past year, to the annual Memorial Day service Sunday, May 27.

The service will be held at the Arbovale United Methodist Church beginning at 2 p.m.

Over the past years, it has been a tradition to honor those who have been interred by calling their name and presenting a flower in their honor to a family member or friend during the service.

We are requesting that family and friends of the deceased be present to designate a person to accept the flower and place it in a basket which will be taken to the cemetery following the service.

The Pocahontas County Honor Corps will complete the program with a flag ceremony at the main gate of the cemetery following the church service. They will also acknowledge approximately 400 veterans who are interred in the Arbovale Cemetery, and will place a flag at the grave of each.

Retired Air Force officer Rick Wooddell will be the guest speaker.

Wooddell was born in Camp Carson, Colorado, and spent his childhood as a “military brat,” living in seven different locations all around the world.

His family returned to Green Bank in 1970. He graduated from Pocahontas County High School in 1973.

After high school, Wooddell attended West Virginia University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He graduated in 1977 with a degree in Business Administration and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

He married Renae Crist in September 1977, and they have two children. Andrew is currently living in Roanoke, Virginia, and Erin, and her husband, John West, live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

For more than 22 years, Wooddell served in the Air Force, fulfilling many different roles. His longest term of service at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

After retiring from the Air Force, Wooddell flew 757s and 767s for Delta Air Lines, MaxJet Airlines and EOS Airlines.

He retired from flying in 2008 and now resides in Green Bank.

He continues to operate the Wooddell family farm, established in 1801. Both he and Renae stay active in their church and community organizations.

Wooddell is Commander of the Pocahontas County Honor Corps.

For more information about this service, call Charlie Sheets at 304-456-4762.

About the Arbovale Cemetery:

The archway at the Arbovale Cemetery was erected August 1962. The inscription on the right of the entrance reads, “In memory of Clarence E. Flynn, whose unselfish devotion to the welfare of Pocahontas County has given him a lasting place in the hearts of our people.”

Mr. Flynn organized the Cemetery Association May 6, 1943, and was elected as its first president…

Before this organization, the cemetery was practically a wilderness – greenbriers, blackberry briers, matted grass more than three feet high, and more. There were no caretakers and the markers were difficult to find. Each family was responsible for upkeep of lots, and many were badly neglected. Much hard labor had to be done.

Harry Dale Sutton shared the following in “Days Gone By,” which was published May 12, 1938 in The Pocahontas Times:

“Where the Arbovale cemetery is now located once stood the Old [Deer Creek] Union Church. We can only go back in thought to those days so long past…

“It must take us back before the War Between the States. To a time when the future of America looked bright, and hope was burning in every heart. It takes us back to a time when the young men were honest and true and the young women virtuous and fair. Those people were strong and brave who loved God and their fellowmen. Yes, it was from such that our Nation was founded.

“On July 5 in the year of grace 1831, a deed was made by James Tallman to (the trustees of the Deer Creek congregation) Benjamin Tallman, George Burner and James Wooddell…”

The following call went out from the Arbovale Cemetery Board of Trustees in June 1943:

“…Many families take pride in keeping up their plots, but much of the old church yard and many lots in the new addition are sadly neglected…

“You know the saying that a community can be judged by the appearance of its churches, school and cemeteries. About all I care to say in this connection about the Greenbank community is that their cemetery is not kept up as well as their churches and schools. By a united effort of a determined people, this cemetery can be made one of the most beautiful places in Pocahontas county…”

The people responded, and the Arbovale Cemetery was transformed into a beautiful and well-maintained resting place, and remains so today.

The current Cemetery Board members are Charles Sheets, Rick Wooddell, Dan Soliday, Patty Nottingham, Jon Davis, Steve Fierbaugh, Matthew Barkley, Herman Butcher, Michael Offutt, Evan Bosley and Amos Meck.

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