Frank M. Fenton
This obituary appeared in the Parkersburg, WV daily paper: The Parkersburg News -Thursday, August 11, 2005
Frank M. Fenton
Frank M. Fenton, 89, of West Fourth Street, Williamstown, died 3:30 P.M. Tuesday, August 9, 2005, at Marietta Memorial Hospital.
He was born Dec. 1, 1915, in Marietta, a son of the late Frank L. and Lillian Muhleman Fenton.
He graduated from Marietta High School in 1932 and Marietta College in 1936 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He was President of Fenton Art Glass Co. from 1948 through 1979; was Chairman of the Board from 1979-1986; and was still a Director. He was an authority on American glass (especially Fenton) and gave talks to collectors across the country. He provided research support to the authors of many books on Fenton. He was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church of Williamstown, WV, and served in positions as choir director, finance chairman and on the board of directors for the Spring Heights Methodist Summer Camp. He was a 36 year member of Marietta College Board of Trustees, including a term as chairman; sang in Messiah; was a member of Thursday Noon Rotary in Marietta; was the founding member of the Williamstown Community Assoc; created with his brother, Bill, the Fenton Foundation; and was a founding member of Artsbridge.
He is survived by four sons, Frank Fenton and his wife, Sonia, Tom Fenton and his wife, Sharon, of Marietta, Mike Fenton and his wife, Kathy, of Williamstown, and George Fenton and his wife, Nancy, of Williamstown; 12 grandchildren, Frank Daniel Fenton and his wife, Holley; Lynn Erb and her husband, Eric; Matthew Fenton and his wife, Vickie; Jennifer Hukill and her husband, Mack; Scott Fenton and his wife, Grace; Jennifer Woofter, Kerry Fenton, Meredith Minix, Natalie Molter and her husband Neil; Benjamin Fenton; David Fenton and his wife, Jennifer; 16 great-grandchildren; one sister, Ruth Jenkins of Dayton, Ohio.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Elizabeth Ripley Fenton; five sisters, Dorothy Fenton, Carol Bell, Marsha Treash, Lillian Archer and Marjorie Cummings; one brother Wilmer “Bill” C. Fenton, who died Dec. 11, 2002; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be 2 PM. Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Williamstown, followed by a reception. The Rev. Steve Gedon and the Rev. Leo Farley will officiate. Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery. Family will receive friends from 6-8 PM Friday and 10 AM-noon Saturday at the church. Arrangements are being handled by Hadley Funeral Home.
Memorials can be made to First United Methodist Church, 304 W. Fifth St., Williamstown, WV 26187
This editorial appeared in the Parkersburg, WV daily paper : The Parkersburg News on Thursday, August 11, 2005
Businessman made area a better place
A time of joy and celebration for the Fenton family has turned into sadness with the death Tuesday, of family patriarch Frank M. Fenton.
Fenton, 89, had been in ill health recently, but his death coming as it did in the midst of Fenton Art Glass' 100th Anniversary Celebration, was a sad event for the family and the community. However, we hope everyone feeling the pain of Fenton's death will remember his business sense and leadership during the previous four decades that helped make this celebration possible. During the nearly 40 years he and his brother Bill headed the company, Fenton Art Glass grew from a small business to a name known worldwide for its quality and innovative products.
“He was a great leader and certainly provided a lot of support and advice,” his son and current CEO and President of Fenton Art Glass, George Fenton said. “He was personally very caring and in business, very wise and very astute.”
Fenton himself, liked to say about his tenure with the company, “I started at the top…and worked down.” This was undoubtedly true. He knew his business from top to bottom and was beloved by the Fenton employees. As longtime Fenton employee, Harold Burdette told the newspaper, “It will be hard to imagine the mood at the factory as word of Fenton's death spreads to employees. I remember Frank from way back, probably 53 years,” he said. He was a good man. “Everybody like Frank…He was a kind person.”
Frank Fenton, and all of the Fenton family always shared its success with the community of Williamstown. Frank Fenton loved Williamstown. One of his final public acts was to donate five acres to the City of Williamstown, which will become Fenton Park.
“He was one of the dearest people, who cared about people so much and cared about the town,” Williamstown Mayor, Jean Ford said. “He was just a very caring person and no doubt one of the nicest gentlemen I ever met.”
In his later years, Frank Fenton took on the role to which, because of his longevity with the company, he was so well suited - that of company historian. He spoke to collector clubs and did hours and hours of research on the history of the company. It also was a role he relished. Fenton was a bridge to the company's long and rich past. His death is not only a loss to the company, but to the Mid-Ohio Valley as well. We share the Fenton family's sorrow at this time. We hope they will find strength in his long life and his accomplishments, both in business and for his community.
“That's really what he lived for,” Mayor Ford said. “His family, his business and the people in the town. This was his home.”
Today, that home is much saddened by his passing.
In honor and memory of Frank M. Fenton, whose passing this day - August 09, 2005 marks the end of an era.
He saw the approach of the 100th Anniversary of Fenton Art Glass Company, but sadly could not achieve his own 90th year this Dec. How very sad! The carnival world has lost a true and dedicated friend; one who cometh only in a century of robust growth and development to create a finer world! A finer gentleman could not be found, and whose devotion to task could not be exceeded. He was a refined and gentle man with tremendous vision and foresight. His passing will be felt by many for a very long time.
In sadness and with much regret,
Dean and Diane Fry, and Donna Adler
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