Nine Friendly City residents will be inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame this Saturday at Wesbanco Arena for the significant impact each has had on the city.
Four of the nine honorees will be in attendance, and family members related to the five deceased inductees are set to accept the honor in their memory. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m., and tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 by contacting the arena’s box office at (304) 233-4470.
“This is a larger group than what is usually inducted, but I think that’s a statement about the past of Wheeling and the current Wheeling,” said Hall of Fame board member and Wheeling councilman Don Atkinson. “We have had a lot of folks who have not only had an impact here in Wheeling, but also throughout the country, and we have a lot of folks who continue working to make this city the best it can be.
“And people are now paying a lot of attention to the Wheeling Hall of Fame, and I think that’s a product of the new energy that has grown over the last decade,” he continued. “I can remember a time when most people didn’t have a clue that a Wheeling Hall of Fame even existed.”
Following Saturday’s ceremony, large plaques honoring all nine inductees will be placed on the wall of the arena’s concourse. The selection process, Atkinson said, is an extensive one. It is the goal of the Hall of Fame Board to honor former and present residents who attained considerable distinction in a specific field while bringing honor to their home city. Honorees belong to one of six major categories: Music and Fine Arts; Business, Industry, and Professions; Education and Religion; Sports and Athletics; Public Service; and Philanthropy.
“It’s a very interesting board because there are so many different people on it who have very different interests,” the municipal lawmaker said. “We all break out into different committees because some folks know more about things like philanthropy, and others know sports the best.
“We all work very hard to make sure the people who deserve to be inducted get inducted. We all want to make sure the people who deserve this honor receive it,” Atkinson added. “I expect it will be a great banquet, and I’m looking forward to hear from the inductees who are still with us.”
The Wheeling Hall of Fame Board supplied brief biographies for each inductee:
Scientist, educator, wellness advocate, and civic activist, Campbell has served a variety of organizations. He was president of West Liberty State College, Ohio County Board of Education, and Ohio County Heart Association, taught Sunday school at Warwood United Methodist Church for 56 years, and holds 31 national and international patents, among other accomplishments.
This longtime educator began his career in Ohio County Schools in 1965, teaching at Clay Junior High and Wheeling Park High School, where he served as assistant principal for 22 years. An inductee to the West Virginia All-Black Schools Sports Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement, he continues to impact students through his tireless efforts to provide scholarships.
Billy performed with some of the most prominent blues and R&B acts of the 1960s, culminating with the closing set with Jimi Hendrix on the storied stage at Woodstock. Cox has been inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville and the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
Called the Dean of Wheeling’s architecture, he studied art in Chicago and New York but had no formal training in his chosen profession of draftsman. He donated his services to design public buildings, including Wheeling and Triadelphia high schools. He designed the longest (Market Auditorium) and the tallest (Schmulbach Building) structures in the state at the time.
This Triadelphia High School graduate became one of the most prolific scorers in major college history. He held and broke several records during his career in the early 1950s, had a tryout for the Cleveland Browns, and was drafted by the NBA.
Known for championing social justice and the arts at all levels, Hogan’s impact stretches from Wheeling to West Africa, where she volunteered with the Peace Corps. She received Mayor Andy McKenzie’s first Community Spirit Award and actively serves on many community boards, including the Arts and Cultural Commission, Grow Ohio Valley, and Reinvent Wheeling.
Known simply as “Miss Fassig,” she began her career in New York City, where she performed in vaudeville before returning home to Wheeling and establishing Fassig School of the Dance. She trained thousands, and her students performed throughout the Ohio Valley, on the Capitol Theatre stage, and on television.
Rybeck was a devoted proponent of new approaches to community health and nutrition, particularly as they related to dentistry. In 1998, he founded the Viewpoint Dental Clinic. Each Saturday, until the day before he died, he and his volunteer assistants provided free dental services to those who otherwise could not afford them.
Known as one of Wheeling’s “Captains of Industry,” Vance started in the iron and hardware business at age 24, later manufacturing railroad spikes and iron during the Civil War. In 1884, the state’s first Bessemer converter began operation at his Wheeling plant, marking the birth of the steel industry in West Virginia.