Ruth Morgan

Ruth McClintic Morgan, of Marlinton, passed away Friday, June 19, 2015, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Born December 6, 1915, in Frankford, she was a daughter of the late John Homer and Florence Carson McClintic.

Ruth grew up in Frankford, where her parents owned and operated a country general store known as J.H. McClintic’s Store. She was a graduate of Greenbrier College in Lewisburg. In 1936, she married her husband, whom she met shortly after his arrival in Greenbrier County as the new assistant county agricultural agent. They lived several years in Ritchie County before settling in Marlinton.

Mrs. Morgan dedicated her life and talents to her family, church, schools and community. She was an Elder in the Marlinton Presbyterian Church. Among many areas in which she served the church, in the late 1940s she organized and directed the Youth Choir. She developed life-long relationships with the young people of the choir and many touched base with her on their return to the area.

As a member of the Marlinton Woman’s Club, she initiated the first career day for students at Marlinton High School, as well as an art show for students to showcase their talent. She worked on the project of acquiring and restoring the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in Hillsboro by the West Virginia Federation of Woman’s Clubs, and directed a program honoring Pearl S. Buck at the Pocahontas County Historical Museum.

In the mid-1950s, Mrs. Morgan worked with two historians, Dr. G.D. McNeill and W.E. Blackhurst, to write, produce and direct the historically authentic outdoor pageant, The Saga of Pocahontas, the story of the history of Pocahontas County. This evolved into a countywide production with hundreds of volunteers as cast, set builders and behind the scenes workers. She spent days and weeks driving around Pocahontas County seeking period clothes, props and volunteers. It culminated in a successful production at the Pocahontas County Fair in 1956 and 1957. It was instrumental in bringing people together from all over the county. Subsequently, this endeavor evolved into a style show called the “Mementos of the Rolling Years,” using many period clothes that had been shared by county residents. It was eventually taken on the road to The Greenbrier for the state convention by the West Virginia Federation of Woman’s Club.

Mrs. Morgan had been a director to the Pocahontas County Historical Society and was active in the establishment of the Pocahontas County Historical Museum in 1963.

Later her talents, along with those of her husband, were focused on the restoration of the old train depot in the center of Marlinton. It was carefully restored and became a tourist attraction and a gift shop – Chessie Crafts– featuring West Virginia arts and crafts until the Depot was flooded during the historic flood of 1985. After the Depot was restored for the second time, it was home to the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau until a fire in 2010. A new generation of volunteers is working to obtain funding and complete the renovation of the interior of the building.

Mrs. Morgan worked for the creation of the Pocahontas County Landmarks Commission of which she was the President for many years. Under her leadership, the commission acquired and restored the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton which involved hundreds of volunteers and donations. The Opera House is now the center of activity for live arts and community activities. The commission also acquired and moved the McLaughlin log house, which is thought to be the oldest house in Marlinton. The Landmarks Commission has worked to identify historical properties throughout Pocahontas County and have them placed on the State and National Historic Registry.

In 2004, Mrs. Morgan received the Governor’s Service Award for Lifetime Achievement for her years of exceptional community service. This is the premier award for volunteers in West Virginia.
Ruth Morgan gave us the gift of history and the gift of community that by working together we can do significant things with surprising benefits.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Benjamin F. Morgan, in 2003; two brothers, Roy Carson McClintic and John William McClintic; a nephew, John William McClintic, Jr.; and a son-in-law, James K. Roche.

She is survived by her daughters, Stephany Morgan, of Staunton, Virginia, and Nancy Morgan Roche, of Charlottesville, Virginia; grandchildren, James Morgan Roche, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, and Caroline Roche West, and husband, Robert, of Nashville, Tennessee; great-grandchildren, Jamie Roche, John Roche and Lillian Ruth West; and nephews, Stephen C. McClintic, Sr., of Roanoke, Virginia, and Gregory Morgan, of Morgantown.

A memorial service will be held June 24 at 3 the Marlinton Presbyterian Church, with a reception to follow. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Pocahontas County Opera House Foundation, PO Box 282, Marlinton, WV 24954; or the Marlinton Railroad Depot Inc., PO Box 63, Marlinton, WV 24954.

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