More than 400 members and friends of Oglebay Institute attended Friday’s annual Board Benefit on the lawn of the Mansion Museum at Oglebay.
Perfect weather, delicious food and drinks, snazzy outfits and camaraderie defined the evening — one of the favorite social events in the Ohio Valley.
What also makes this event so special is the membership, and more than three dozen members have offered their support to Oglebay Institute for over 50 years.
Micah Labishak Underwood, director of development for Oglebay Institute, truly appreciates the institute’s members.
“What I find most exciting about Oglebay Institute’s membership program is seeing multiple generations of a family investing in our community’s arts, nature and history programs. Some of our current members have been supporting OI since the mid-1950s, and now their children and grandchildren have joined. To me, that is the best endorsement we could hope to have,” she said.
Several of those long-time members were in attendance at Friday’s event and shared their thoughts about the institute.
Robert and Dona Wiseman — members since 1967.
“Oglebay Institute has always provided a rich, astonishingly high-quality program of arts and classes for every age group. For the 61 years of our married life we, our children and our grandchildren have happily participated in many activities. We shall always support Oglebay Institute. For us, and for the whole community, the Institute is one of Wheeling’s treasures,” Dona Wiseman said.
Dr. John Kramer – member since 1968 and longtime board member, serving as chairman in 1993-94. John’s wife, Pat, is a sustaining member of the Museums Committee.
“It’s the most diversified cultural organization that we have here in the Upper Ohio Valley. … Oglebay Institute is the oldest arts council in the country. … Something with that pedigree deserves our support, and it certainly adds to our quality-of-life. And so I’m all for supporting good quality of life, because life’s too short.”
Doretta Jacob — member since 1965 and sustaining member of the Museums Committee.
When Doretta Jacob moved to Wheeling after getting married, one of the first things she did was to join Oglebay Institute. “The first thing I did was go up to the garden center and take a lesson in how to make a Christmas wreath, and drive up with my new Volkswagen up this hill, and I was from New York City and New Jersey so I considered this a hill and now I don’t! … Then the children came, and we went to the camps, we took the courses at Stifel, I was on the board of the opera workshop, and now I’m on the Mansion Committee.”
Roslyn Lando — member since 1961 and longtime member of the Museums Committee.
Roslyn Lando is quite impressed with the services that Oglebay Insitute offers to the community. “… the education, the nature center, the arts, the dance, the theater … Where can you go in the city our size and get that? We are very fortunate to have the institute and the park work so well together. … We’re just blessed to have the institute here, and I can’t imagine anybody not finding one level of membership that they could join.”
Sue Seibert Farnsworth — member since 1968.
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“My parents were members. My dad was on the board. I want to day camp here, and I was an instructor as a teenager. And so when I came back to town, that (becoming a member) was a natural thing to do. I’ve continued because I think it’s such an important part of this community. It’s important to the park. It provides all the cultural things we need to do in entertainment and instruction, and I just think we’re very fortunate to have it.”
Judge Frederick Stamp — member since 1962. Judge Stamp’s wife, Joan, was a board member from 1980-1985.
Becoming a member of Oglebay Institute was “the easiest decision I’ve ever made. It’s been a wonderful resource for our area for years — with the cultural opportunities, the museum, the Stifel Fine Arts Center, the various opportunities for nature — it’s just a great opportunity for everybody to participate. We’re so lucky to have it. And the other thing is the affiliation the institute has had with Oglebay Park over the years. I think that’s very important, and I don’t know how many nonprofits of this type have that association.”
“During the last year I have been honored to be invited to talk about the history of Oglebay Institute on a statewide and national level. I feel so much pride to talk about the fact that in 1930, during some of our most challenging economic times of our nation, that Oglebay Institute was established,” said Danielle McCracken, president of Oglebay Institute. “Under the leadership of Crispin Oglebay (Earl Oglebay’s nephew) and a group of community volunteers who believed that in order for the park and the Wheeling community to thrive, an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the vision that arts, cultural and nature programming was necessary. It was at that point that Oglebay Institute was established. When I greet guests at the Board Benefit and see long-time supporters and new faces, it makes me so happy. It gives me hope that the next generation cares and will continue the important vision that was set 88 years ago, but remains relevant today.”
50+ members of Oglebay Institute:
American Electric Power
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Costanzo
Mr. and Mrs. John Costine
Dr. and Mrs. William Crowl
Lois C. Drum
Eagle Manufacturing Co.
Sue Seibert Farnsworth
Mr. and Mrs. Peter W. Fox
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Gompers
Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Grubler
Mrs. D. Milton Gutman
Dr. and Mrs. Donald H. Hofreuter
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Horne
John W. Kepner
Dr. and Mrs. John G. Kramer
Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Lancione
Dennis Madama, Shaeffer and Madama, Inc.
Mary Lou McKain
Robert C. Miller
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel G. Nazzaro
Mr. and Mrs. G. Ogden Nutting
Community Bank (formerly Progressive)
Mr. and Mrs. Carl A. Slater
Judge and Mrs. Frederick P. Stamp Jr.
Joan D. Stein
Dr. and Mrs. Edward C. Voss Jr.
Mary Louise Ward
WesBanco Bank Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wiseman
• After nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigalhas joined Weelunk as managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.