Your Oglebay Story
Oglebay’s rich history grows with every visitor and guest. Read the stories of some of those who enjoy the park and learn how you can help the Oglebay Foundation ensure that Oglebay will be here to inspire visitors to create new memories for generations to come.
Flip & Gary West’s Oglebay Story
“When you donate to the park, you are part of the park.”
– Flip West on donating to the Oglebay Foundation
Gary West and his wife, Flip, are long-time Wheeling residents who enjoy the value that Oglebay Park brings to the community.
“We come to OglebayFest every year. We get a cabin,” Gary notes. “Flip likes to cook, so she invites 20 people to come in so she can cook for them–”
“–and I keep saying, ‘Why don’t you cater it,’ and she says, ‘No, I want to cook.’ That’s her favorite.”
Flip and Gary have two daughters with fond memories of Oglebay. “Anytime they come back, they always want to come to Oglebay and refresh their memories,” Gary adds.
“And we did Gary’s family reunion up here last Thanksgiving. We kept saying, ‘Where do you all want to go,’ and every one of them said, ‘Oglebay Park.’”
Flip describes the warm feelings that are evoked when you arrive at the park. “You see the care in this park that comes through [Chairman Randy Worls] and his staff, that–you can’t help it but be overwhelmed.” She goes on to describe the park’s entrance. “It’s like curb appeal in a house,” she recounts. “You know when you come up here–this is the beginning of a good thing.”
As a retired business owner and philanthropist, Gary understands the constant uphill struggle inherent in maintaining such vibrant landscapes and up-to-date facilities as are found in the park. “I’m hoping that the local community will help the park in many ways–in their wills and their trusts, and, as we go along, their cash deposits to the park. They’ll come back tenfold to the public.” He and his wife have invested in the development of the West Spa and continue to make generous contributions to the Foundation. “We just talk, and the next day I say, ‘Flip, we are going to do this for Oglebay,’ and she says, ‘Oh, that’s great! When were you going to tell me?!’”
Flip stresses the need for donations in support of the park. “I can’t imagine anyone living here–or anyone in the Tri-State Area that comes to this park–not wanting to be a part of it,” she explains. “When you donate to the park, you are part of the park.”
“It’s a great investment that all people in Ohio County can make.”
Bob & Amy Mead
Having grown up in Wheeling, their paths crossed a number of times. Amy Stauffer and Bob Mead didn’t know each other then, but both attended Oglebay summer day camps during their grammar school years. On October 7, 2021, Bob and Amy celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at the Pine Room with family and friends. In honor of this long history the family is making gifts to renovate and endow Speidel Cottage #4. Thanks to the family’s generosity and love of Oglebay, the Speidel Cottage is now the newly renovated Mead Cottage– a great romance indeed. Read more here.
C.J. & Debbie Kaiser
In 2020, Debbie and C.J. saw firsthand the challenges pandemic related closures were having on the park and decided to make a generous donation using IRA funds. The gift was used in part for a matching campaign that raised $715,000 to support Trees and Trails, the Good Zoo and Gardens – a great fit for the couple’s interest and use of the park. The Kaisers continue to support the park in many ways… talk about making a difference! Read more here.
The Keefer Family established a fund to support the walking trails in Susanne Keefer’s memory. Jay continues to fund tree removal and planting in the park that has meant so much to him during his lifetime through annual gifts to the Oglebay Foundation. He has also made estate plans to support the park’s trees, which will continue to provide for all of us for generations to come. What a gift indeed. Read more here.
Realizing the important role sports has played throughout his life, Carl decided to fund youth tennis and golf activities at Oglebay and Wheeling Park with an IRA Charitable Rollover. Carl has also included the Foundation in his estate to support the lifetime sports that have shaped his life. Read more here.
Bloch Memorial Golf Course (Stuart F. Bloch)
Local business man, Stuart Bloch left a portion of his retirement savings to preserve affordable golf at Wheeling Park, ensuring the game of a lifetime will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Oglebay’s Historic Pergola on the Hilltop (Bill Bushfield)
Bill Bushfield named the Oglebay Foundation as the beneficiary of his retirement account to honor his mother and father. The funds rebuilt the pergola and created a legacy endowing its maintenance in perpetuity. (“The Power of Friendship: Refurbishing Oglebay’s Historic Pergola,” The American Ideal, Vol 1 Issue 2, Spring 2019)
The Dalby Gates (Doug Dalby)
Upon his retirement as Wheeling Park Commission President & CEO the gates in Mansion Woods were named for Doug Dalby’s years of service. Doug makes annual gifts to the foundation and has planned an estate gift to create an endowment for the gates’ ongoing maintenance.
“Miss West Virginia” Sculpture (Sue Seibert Farnsworth)
Wheeling Park Commissioner and Oglebay Foundation founding board member, Sue Seibert Farnsworth donated a fully funded, whole-life insurance policy to fund the Garden Works Sculpture Exhibit and the purchase of the stainless steel heron ˝Miss West Virginia˝ perched in the tree outside the Foundation office.
Wheeling Golf (Pidge Fleming)
Wheeling native Pidge Fleming is the daughter of Robert and Gene Biery. Her father was one of the Wheeling Park Commission’s first fulltime employees. The family spent their early years in Shepherd’s Cottage, just above the Crispin Course’s first tee. Today, at 87 years young, Pidge remains active in both the Women’s Golf Associations for Oglebay and Wheeling Park and plays up to four times a week. Pidge has included the Oglebay Foundation as a beneficiary of her estate. “Oglebay’s always been good to me. I’ve lived here all my life. It is an honor to have the opportunity to give back.” Read more here.
Platform Tennis Courts (Chris Freeman)
Wheeling native and U.S. Navy veteran Chris Freeman is using a donor advised fund at Raymond James Financial Services to invest in platform tennis. When asked about his generous donation Freeman shared, “Forty years ago a group of platform tennis enthusiasts built the courts at Oglebay. While they have long since stopped playing, many of us continue to benefit from their generosity and enjoy the opportunity to play this sport. Now, it’s time for me to step up and pass it forward so this sport is here for future generations.”
As the stepdaughter of Brooks Wigginton, (1912-1995), Wheeling Park Commission’s landscape architect, Hydie Friend grew up just outside the boundaries of Oglebay Park. For over 25 years, Friend sought grants to benefit projects, improvements and programming in Oglebay and Wheeling Park. Her efforts raised in excess of $10,000,000. Because of her fond memories of the park and the positive influence the Oglebay family has had on her, she generously donated all her time and efforts.
Hickman Lounge (Louise Gaspar)
School teacher Louise Gaspar (“A Sense of Place: Oglebay’s Holiday Lady,” The American Ideal, Vol 1 Issue 1, Winter 2019) made a bequest to the Oglebay Foundation which was used in part to renovate Wilson Lodge’s Hickman Lounge.
The Good Zoo (Helen Prince)
Wheeling native Helen Prince demonstrated her love of children, music and animals with the creation of the Helen J. Prince Foundation. During her lifetime, Ms. Prince donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Good Zoo. Her foundation is funding the new Red River Hog Habitat.
Wheeling Park Pool (Doug Wayt)
For 42 years, Doug Wayt has been swimming laps in Wheeling Park’s pool every morning between Memorial and Labor Days. He and his wife Susanna are using IRA distributions to fund investments to help maintain the pool they love.
Randy and Betty Worls
Earl Oglebay lived on Waddington Farm for 27 years. Betty and Randy Worls have been here for 67 years. They’ve committed their entire lives to this place. They met in the Park, married and raised their sons here; they built their lives here.