David G. Grapes was born June 9, 1930, in Ohio, a son of the late Roy E. and Evelyn E. Astry Grapes. He opened and operated Dave's Price Rite Market in Lubeck before his retirement. He was devoted to his wife, children, and grandchildren. He loved working in his flower garden and spending time with his family and with his dog, Lady, whom he rescued from the animal shelter. He was also an avid wood worker and enjoyed making furniture for his family. Dave and his wife Jean (Wagner) Grapes were married for 62 years.
Nita Jean (Wagner) Grapes was born on March 16, 1930, the third of five children born to George Leroy "Roy" Wagner and Hazel Barnetta (Ball) Wagner. She was raised on Mud Hill in Wirt County, West Virginia, and grew up during the Great Depression, and learned to give to others who were in need even though her family had very little as well. She was an avid admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt her entire life as a result of that experience, but her favorite president was Thomas Jefferson.
Jean began her work life at the age of fifteen, traveling to Parkersburg to work at the Wilmar Cafeteria during her summer break from school. She graduated from Wirt County High School and in August 1948, she married David G. Grapes (1930-2010). Shortly thereafter, they moved to Clarksburg for several years and started their family. After returning to Wood County, Jean Grapes remained in South Parkersburg. In 1963, she entered the field of real estate sales. She became the first female real estate broker in Wood County. She opened her real estate office in South Parkersburg in 1966 and eventually named her company South Parkersburg Realty.
Jean was the first and only woman to be elected to the Wood County Commission, where she served one term. She remained a force in Wood County Democratic politics; serving as Executive Director of the Wood County Democratic Executive Committee for nearly twenty years. She also served on the West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee for twelve years. She was recognized as Wood County Democrat of the Year in 1996 and in 2008 she attended the National Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado, as a delegate from Wood County, West Virginia. Jean also loved to travel and during the last twenty-five years, traveled extensively around the world.
Her legacy includes community contributions as well. Most recently, Jean led efforts to purchase a building for the House to Home day shelter and was successful in locating and securing funds to buy a building for that purpose in 2008. She served on the Board of Directors for House to Home for over ten years. She was a founding board member for the Scottish & Celtic Heritage Festival. She was also a recipient of the Trailblazer WEALTH Award.
Dave and Jean had five children, David Grapes II (Dawn) Dawn; Sandy Cowan, Kristy (Rick), Marcie Conley (Steve), and Allen Hoselton (Leanne). They also had eight grandchidlren; Amber Hardman (Jeff), Kari Geary (Brandon), Chase Fox (Alicia) Angela Holloway (Marcus), Michael Cowan (Miranda), Natalie Grapes, David Grapes III, and Joseph Ankrom. They also left behind seven great-grandchildren, Andrew, Joshua, Sadie, Maggie, Oliver, Miley, and Rylin.
When Dave passed away on August 8, 2010, Jean wanted to do something meaningful to commemorate Dave's special generosity of spirit. Memorials were contributed to form the David and Jean Grapes Family Charitable Fund and intended as a long-term support fund for the Parkersburg Area Coalition for the Homeless, House to Home project. Now that Jean has passed, their family wishes to continue the community work that they began. This important charitable fund will support the needs of individuals in Wirt and Wood Counties who are experiencing homelessness or mental illness. This Fund will serve as a legacy for the Grapes' family; helping future generations of their family to understand that it was important to Jean and Dave to care for others in our community who are unable to do so for themselves.