Published 12:09 am Sunday, October 4, 2015

Elizabeth French

Aug. 4, 1929 — Sept. 24, 2015

On Thursday September 24, 2015 Elizabeth Margaret Burns Wilson French (age 86) of Ironton, Ohio lost her nine-week battle with a traumatic brain injury and subsequent complications all originally caused by a fall. She passed away at Community Hospice in Ashland, Kentucky. Known to everyone as Libby, she was born August 4, 1929 in Huntington, West Virginia. Libby regularly joked that she was the cause of the Great Depression. Libby was clearly a daughter of this region of Appalachia. Her mother, Mildred Harriett Meldahl came from a family of riverboat captains, most notable was Libby’s uncle Captain Anthony (Tony) Meldahl for whom the Captain Anthony Meldahl Locks and Dam on the Ohio River are named. Her father, Thomas Jefferson Burns, was a foreman for the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railway and served on many boards around Greenup including that which established Greenbo State Park.

Shortly after her birth, the Burns family moved to Greenup, Kentucky where Libby was raised. A child of the Depression and World War II era, Libby would often tell, with fond memory, of the rationing of materials during that time period. She would also tell of how she and others in Greenup escaped the 1937 flood to Huntington by train; a train that had to drive backwards to keep the engines from flooding. While living in Greenup Libby was taught in grade school by the Poet Laureate of Kentucky, Jesse Stewart, and his wife, Naomi Deane Stewart. Growing up, through her uncle Harry S. Damron of Huntington, West Virginia, she was able to meet singers and Big Band leaders such as Glen Miller, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Liberace, Lawrence Welch, and Marian Anderson, among others. She graduated from Raceland High School in 1946 at the age of 16.

Email newsletter signup

Libby married Franklin M. Wilson of Ironton, Ohio in 1952. Libby was told she could not have children but after being told she had a tumor by one doctor, a second opinion revealed that she was actually pregnant. On December 9, 1970, at the age of 41, she gave birth to Franklin Thomas Wilson. Franklin M. Wilson passed away in 1979 and Libby raised her son as a single working mother on a secretary’s salary. She would remarry in 2001 to Dr. Glenard French of Russell, Kentucky. Libby and Glenard spent a number of years traveling and seeing the country. Although they divorced in September of 2014 they remained friends.

After working several years for Ironton Fire Brick she worked for the City of Ironton in the Ironton Waters Works Department and as the Mayor’s Secretary for over 28 years in the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall. During her tenure with the city of Ironton she helped lead female workers to unionize and, along with other city employees, would go without pay to help bring the city out of debt. She spoke fondly of how the city workers of that time were a family and banded together through donations and potluck dinners to make sure no city employee’s family went without food. She also spoke often of how firemen played cards at Ironton General Hospital just in case blood needed to be donated while she gave birth and how even before joining the union the union helped purchase Frank’s first bicycle in gratitude for her typing up documents for the union in her off time. “We were a family and we took care of each other.”

Retiring in 1992, Libby continued to teach Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, house missionaries, and conduct backyard Bible clubs. Although she left Sharon Baptist Church in the mid 1990’s, she found some of her greatest growth occurred when she began attending churches of different denominations each Sunday. Felt especially welcomed by the Ironton St. Joseph Catholic Women’s Club. Additionally, she would donate her time to AARP, food pantries, Ironton Historical Society and Museum, Hospital Auxiliary, Friends of the Library, Festival of the Hills, and at the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library reading stories to children and helping to teach some adults to read. She loved visiting with old friends and meeting new people. One of her favorite passed times was walking the streets of Ironton and just stopping to visit with people, she never knew a stranger. But her greatest joy was just spending time with her son Frank.

Libby was able to see her son graduate from Ohio University with his Bachelors degree in 1993, from Eastern Kentucky University with his Masters of Science in 2000, and from Sam Houston State University with his Ph.D. in 2006. All of which was due to her constant sacrifice and support. Dr. Franklin T. Wilson is currently an Associate Professor of Criminology at Indiana State University and Huffington Post Blogger.

Libby was a strong and independent woman who was full of life and the desire to explore and travel. She never let anyone control her and was never afraid to give her opinion and advice. She spent her last year enjoying her independence, traveling with her son, and soaking in as much of nature, people, and life as she could. Always wishing more people would come to visit and disliked when people ran down Ironton.

Libby slept with her hand on her son Frank’s chest while he lay in his baby crib to make sure he was still breathing. She passed being held by Frank while he rubbed her chest to ease her breathing.

Per Libby’s instructions there will be no funeral or showing; “If you didn’t come see me when I was alive you don’t need to come see me when I am dead.”

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a husband, Franklin M. Wilson; an aunt, Carrie Meldahl Pancake; an aunt, Margaret Meldahl Damron; an aunt, Katharine Meldahl; an uncle, William Meldahl; a cousin, Harriett Damron Morris; an uncle, Harry Damron. She is survived by a son, Franklin T. Wilson of Bloomington, Indiana; a cousin, Stephen Morris of Anaheim, California; and a cousin, Michael Morris of Anaheim, California.

Donations may be made to the Community Hospice Center, 2330 Pollard Road, Ashland, Kentucky, 41101 (Note: body wash, night gowns, and men’s polo shirts needed), St. Mary’s Hospitality House, 2801 South Staunton Road, Huntington, West Virginia, 25702 (Note: coffee and laundry detergent needed), or book donations to the Lawrence County Briggs Public Library (Note: children’s books, large print books and magazines, and audio books). Also just walk the streets of Ironton and visit with people..tell them Libby sent you.

For Frank her son and future family members please post your memories of Libby at:

Or mail them to 2201 Laurelwood Drive, Bloomington, Indiana 47401

Phillips Funeral Home, 1004 South Seventh Street, Ironton, Ohio is assisting the family with the cremation arrangements.


James Slone

Dec. 8, 1945 — Oct. 1, 2015

James Russell Slone, 69, of Ironton, passed away Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, at the Cornerstone Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. The Ironton native was born Dec. 8, 1945, a son of the late Paris and Bessie Hamilton Slone.

James attended Rock Hill High School and was a former employee for the Portsmouth Labor Union #83. He was a member of the VFW Post #8850, the Moose #701, and a lifetime member and trustee of the Eagles #895. He enjoyed camping, fishing and flea markets. He also enjoyed cooking for family and friends at the Family Orchard and was of the Baptist faith. He loved his dogs, especially his sidekick, Jolee.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Charles Slone and Ronnie Slone; and a sister, Wilma Jean Slone.

He is survived by a daughter, Jeanna M. (Kevin) Monday, of Letart, West Virginia; two sons, James D. “Jay” (Mona) Slone and Brandon S. Slone, both of Ironton; two brothers, Everett Slone and Gary Slone, both of Ironton; his companion, Jackie Balmer, of Flatwoods, Kentucky; his former wife, Phyllis J. Slone, of Ironton; six grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Funeral services will be at noon Monday at Phillips Funeral Home, Ironton, with Pastor Greg Frasure officiating. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery and the visitation will be Monday from 11 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. To offer condolences to the family, please visit


James Weber

Sept. 13, 1948 — Sept. 30, 2015

James Maurice “Jim” Weber, 67, of Ironton, passed away Wednesday Sept. 30, 2015. The Ironton native was born Sept. 13, 1948, the son of the late Ray and Nola McGhee Weber.

Jim was a 1966 graduate of St. Joseph Catholic High School and attended the University of Rio Grande and Xavier University. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ironton where he was a member of the Parish Council and sang in the Bereavement Choir. Jim started his career with the Dayton Malleable Iron Company and also worked for the Allied Signal Coke Plant. He was a former math teacher at St. Joseph High School and recently retired after 35 years as a local State Farm agent. Jim was a member and Past Master of the Lawrence Lodge #198 F & AM, member of the El Hasa Shrine in Ashland, Kentucky, where he was active in the Hillbilly Clan, the Oriental Band, the Clowns, Royal Order of Jesters and the Order of “Q”. He was the former owner of Weber’s Party Center and Weber’s Pizza and Steak House. Jim was a former member of the Ironton City School Board, the Lawrence County General Hospital Board, and the Ironton City School Foundation. He was a member of the Ironton Moose, Eagles, V.F.W. #8850, a long time supporter of local little league’s and a huge “Tiger” fan.

Jim is survived by his wife, Jo Ellen Shepherd Weber, whom he married Sept. 23, 1989; two children, T.J. (Carissa) Weber and Kim Weber, both of Ironton; two step-children, Amy Bodmer and Chris Bodmer, both of Ironton; eight grandchildren, Emily Weber, Mason Weber, Morgan Bodmer, Jeremy Bodmer, Destiny Comer, Shelbi Wigandt, Gracie Bodmer and C.J. Bodmer, all of Ironton; sister, Diane (Alvie) Weber Allen, of Ironton; nieces, Viki (Robert) Bailey, of Ironton and Lori (Greg) Danford, of Glenwood, West Virginia; nephew, Bobby (Ashley) Taylor, of St. Petersburg, Florida; mother-in-law, Janet Shepherd, of Ironton; and great-nieces and nephews, Jordan Leach, Charli Leach, J.D. Leach, Jacob Danford and Zach Freeman.

Funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Ironton, with Father David Huffman officiating. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery. Friends may call Monday evening from 4-8 p.m. at the Tracy Brammer-Monroe Funeral Home, Ironton, with a Masonic service provided by Lawrence Lodge #198 F. & A.M. beginning at 6 p.m. and a Rosary Service at 8 p.m. Pallbearers will be Bobby Taylor, Shawn McDonald, Jeremy Bodmer, Nick Weber, Phillip Weber, Zach Freeman, Nick Medinger and Patrick Mahlmeister. Honorary pallbearers will be Jay Elam, Terry Wise, Steve McClanahan, Butch Hopper, Ron Knight and Donnie Hall. Donations in Jim’s memory can be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 3229 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229 or St. Joseph Catholic Church, P.O.Box 499, Ironton, OH 45638. To offer condolences to the family please visit


Lola Nelson

Sept. 19, 2015 — Oct. 2, 2015

Lola Jean Nelson, 74, of Pedro, passed away Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at the Kobacker House in Columbus. The Decatur native was born Sept. 19, 1941, a daughter of the late Arthur and Garnet Evans McFann. She resided in Pedro and previously a long time resident of Patriot.

Ms. Nelson was a graduate of Decatur-Washington High School in Blackfork and was a retired waitress/hostess for several different restaurants. She was a gospel songwriter, a doll collector, seamstress and was of the Baptist faith. She was baptized at Center Station Mt. Calvary Freewill Baptist Church.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Frank McFann; and three sisters, Carlene Klaiber, Judy Neal and Jane Sharp.

She is survived by three daughters, Christine (Gary) Wildermuth, of Thurman, Angel (Michael) Hester, of Hampton, Virginia and Rebecca “Becky” (Adriana Navarro) Nelson, of Jackson; two sons: Greg (Diane) Nelson, of Willow Wood and Neil Nelson, of Jackson; two brothers, Harlan (Cheri) McFann, of Clark Mills, New York and Darrell (Vivian) McFann, of Decatur; five sisters, Faye (Bill) Kerns, of Ironton, Cassie Haas, of Pedro, Debbie (Larry) Barnard, of Decatur, Marcy Vittorio, of Cardington and Irene (Harold) Yates, of Jackson; sisters-in-law, Susie Webb, Ruth Ann Nelson and Linda Schmidt; a brother-in-law, Mark Nelson; 12 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

She was a loving aunt to many nieces, nephews and special loved ones that called her auntie or momma Lola.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at Phillips Funeral Home, Ironton, with pastor Brian Phillips officiating. Burial will follow in Vernon Furnace Cemetery officiating and visitation will be Monday from 6-9 p.m. at the funeral home. Donations may be made in Ms. Nelson’s honor to the Kobacker House, 800 McConnell Road, Columbus, OH 43214. A special thank you to the caring staff of the Kobacker House, Dr. Jennifer Cotton, Dr. Katie Wang, and Dr. Venu Konala. To offer condolences to the family, please visit


 Pauline McKenzie

May 19, 1932 — Oct. 2, 2015

Pauline Faye Joseph McKenzie, 83, of Ironton, passed away Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at the Community Hospice Care Center in Ashland, Kentucky. The Lawrence County native was born May 19, 1932, a daughter of the late Wilbert and Julia Cochran Joseph.

Mrs. McKenzie attended Hanging Rock Schools and was a member of Sugar Creek Missionary Baptist Church. She enjoyed camping, shopping and was a homemaker.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John Delbert McKenzie; brothers and sisters-in-law, John and Imogene Joseph, Jim and Thelma Joseph, Todd and Marylou Joseph, Forrest Joseph and Bennard Joseph; sisters and brothers-in-law, Charlotte and Lee Heiromous, Ruth and Mac Stafford and Deloris and Dennis Downey.

She is survived by daughter, Linda Kay and Charles Meadows, of Ironton and Johnny Ray and Brenda McKenzie, of Huntington, West Virginia; daughter, Angela Christine and Max Haynes, of Chesapeake; seven grandchildren, Tammy Leadingham of Tampa, Florida, Tracey Wilds, of Ironton, Latisha Abenoja, of Huntington, West Virginia, Danielle Fields, of Ironton, Josh Fields, of Ironton, Seth McKenzie, of Huntington, West Virginia and Brooke McKenzie, of Huntington, West Virginia; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Funeral will be noon Monday at Tracy Brammer-Monroe Funeral Home, Ironton, with pastor Mike Long officiating. Burial will follow in Sugar Creek Cemetery and visitation will be Monday from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. To offer condolences to the family please visit


William Shepherd

William Shepherd, 56, of Proctorville, died Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at home. He is survived by his wife, Carol Allen. Funeral service will be conducted 1 p.m. Monday at Hall Funeral Home and Crematory, Proctorville. Burial will follow in Miller Memorial Gardens, Miller. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Condolences may be expressed to the family at


 Edward Short

Edward E. “Gene” Short, 79, of Flatwoods, Kentucky, died Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland. He is survived by his wife, Janet “Jan” Adams-Short, of Flatwoods. Funeral Services will be held at Carman Funeral Home in Flatwoods Tuesday at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at the Catlettsburg Cemetery. Visitation for family and friends will be on Monday from 6-9 p.m. at the funeral home. Online condolences may be left for the family at


William Newman

William Bertrum Newman, 82, of Huntington, West Virginia, died Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, at home. Private family services will be held. Hall Funeral Home and Crematory, Proctorville, is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family at