Some people saw Jean Grapes as a dedicated community activist and outspoken political leader. Others knew her as a deeply compassionate person who encouraged, and inspired those around her. A Wirt County native who was proud of her family and her Scottish heritage, Jean Grapes was a trailblazer. The first and only woman elected to the Wood County Commission, Jean’s passion for public service was grounded in a sincere desire to make life better for her community’s citizens.
Growing up through the Great Depression, Jean learned from her parents the importance of giving to those in need even though her own family often had very little. Upon graduating from Wirt County High School, she married David Grapes. Later becoming Wood County’s first female real estate broker, she opened her office in south Parkersburg in 1966, eventually naming it, South Parkersburg Realty.
In many ways, her beloved husband, David, who owned and operated Dave’s Price Rite Market in Lubeck, WV, was the “wind beneath her wings.” Quietly devoted to his family, David was an avid wood worker, who loved gardening and spending time with his dog, Lady, rescued from the animal shelter.
When David passed away in 2010, Jean wanted to do something special to commemorate his generous, caring spirit. She created the David and Jean Grapes Family Charitable Fund, as a long-term support fund for the Parkersburg Area Coalition for the Homeless, House to Home project. Jean had earlier spearheaded efforts to establish the House to Home day shelter, and she and David remained involved for many years.
With Jean’s passing in January 2017, the family desired to further the important work begun by their parents. The Grapes’ family fund will continue to support persons in Wirt and Wood counties who are experiencing homelessness or mental illness, serving as a lasting legacy for the Grapes’ family, ensuring that future generations know of Jean and David’s lifelong commitment to caring for those in our community who are unable to do so for themselves.