John Alfred Statler was born on December 12, 1900 in Pennsboro, West Virginia. His parents were Pharaoh and Sarah Statler, and he had a brother and a sister. He grew up in a large white house that sat beside the Ritchie County Fairgrounds in Pennsboro. The house was still standing as recently as the 1960's or 1970's.
John was not only a good student, but also a standout athlete at Pennsboro High School through 1919, when he graduated. He played basketball, football, baseball and ran track.
Though excelling in each sport, track is where he shone. He received dozens of metals for his track endeavors. One of his proudest moments was when he set a new state record in pole vaulting at the State High School Track Meet. He cleared 7feet, 1inch using a wooden pole, as they did back then. His record stood for many years.
After graduating from high school in 1919, he spent some time attending West Virginia University and participating on their track team. He won many medals there as well, but did not complete a degree.
He returned to Pennsboro and married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Pheltz. They settled in her family home on Main Street, where the raised two children, Rosalee Statler Wilson and John William Statler. They remained in that home until Ruth's death in 1964.
As a young man, John worked in the gas and oil fields for a few years, where he gained invaluable knowledge and insight. Throughout the remainder of his life, he spent every extra penny he could muster on purchasing mineral rights and properties. At the time of his death, he had quite the accumulation, which he had managed meticulously.
Later, Mr. Statler went to work for Ken Mac Company in Pennsboro from which he retired. He married Nina Barnard and spent 20-plus years with her until his death in late January of 1985. He was laid to rest in the Pennsboro Masonic Cemetery.
The John A. Statler Memorial Scholarship, which was established in his name by his family, is based on qualities that John embodied: integrity, scholarship, with an emphasis on a love of sports. It is their hope to help students who, like John, need some aid in moving forward to the next step for their educational process. The fund will forever support students graduating from Ritchie County High School
By: Cinda Wilson Fleming, John A. Statler's granddaughter