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Marble Collectors Pitch In To Restore Unique Grave Monument

The Jackson Star-News

Greg Matics

October 9, 2008




Ron Shepard and company restoring a monumentTEDIOUS TASK — West Virginia marble Collectors Club members (from left) Nola Morgan, treasurer Ron Shepherd, president Howard Powell and Tana McCraw work Tuesday at gluing some 1,500 Ravenswood Novelty Works-made “Buddy” marbles onto a unique cemetery marker crafted by the late John Pease to honor family members buried in the Ravenswood cemetery. Marble collectors from as far away as California contributed marbles for the restoration.

Ravenswood, W.Va. -

What was once a mystery wrapped in an enigma in the Ravenswood Cemetery is now identified—and restored as of Tuesday.

Members of the West Virginia Marble Collectors Club led by treasurer Ron Shepherd and volunteer Betty Jean Fourney turned out Tuesday morning to restore a homemade monument at the Pease family plot to its original marble-encrusted self.

The concrete obelisk was created by John Pease to mark the gravesite of his parents George Frederick Pease, Della Whited Pease, his infant brother, his sister Mary Pease Cecil and her two-year-old son Jimmy Cecil. Della Pease died in 1940 or 1941 and George Pease in 1943. Mary Cecil and her son drowned in a car crash into floodwaters near St. Marys. They were interred in the same casket. Cecil’s husband Encil also drowned in the crash but is buried elsewhere.

The identity of the graves marked by the monument were lost when a fire destroyed Ravenswood Cemetery records. Inquiries by Shepherd about the marbled monument and a subsequent article in Jackson Newspapers by Greg Matics last year prompted the Pease family to solve the mystery.

George Pease of Maryland wrote to Shepherd supplying him with names and information on those resting in the family plot.

Shepherd became interest after seeing the unique monument a few years back and its Buddy Marbles, most of which were missing. Buddy Marbles, which are now coveted by collectors, were manufactured at Ravenswood Novelty Works in north Ravenswood in the 1940s-1950s. John Pease worked at the local marble factory and crafted the monument himself using the signature Ravenswood marbles.

Once the graves were correctly identified, Shepherd and marble collectors decided to restore the monument. Joining Shepherd for Tuesday’s restoration were West Virginia Marble Collectors members Howard Powell (president), Nola Morgan and Tana McCraw along with Fourney and Pease family members including Bill Pease, John’s son.

Materials and over 1,500 Buddy marbles were donated for the restoration project by collectors including the West Virginia Marble Collectors Club of Parkersburg, Bruce Burkhart of Maitsas, Bill McCaleb of Illinois, David Chamberlain and Mike Johnson of California, Chuck and Diane Bernstadder of Indiana, Howard and Julia Powell of Parkersburg and Fourney.

Shepherd said the restoration is a West Virginia Marble Collectors Club project, and the monument will be checked once a year to replace what is needed.

Monetary and marble donations to assist with the ongoing project and to replenish the marble collections of those who donated Buddy marbles can be sent to Shepherd at 1061 Lee Creek Road, Belleville, WV 26133.

One mystery still remains.

A bolt in top of the monument held something at one time. Bill Pease believes it may have been a large marble topper. Shepherd plans to top the restored monument with a plaque containing the names of those in whose loving memory John Pease crafted the unique grave marker over 50 years ago.

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