Mary O’Dell Phipps, 103, of Rainelle, WV, passed away Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in Ronceverte, WV, following a long illness.
She was born July 8, 1910, in Leivasy, WV.
She was a member of Soule Chapel Methodist Church in Meadow Bluff, WV, and was a life member of the National Education Association.
The Distinguished West Virginia Award for outstanding achievements and meritorious services throughout her lifetime was presented to Mrs. Phipps on August 6, 2012, on behalf of West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. She rode horseback from Fleshman Hollow to Rainelle High School, where she graduated in 1929, received her Standard Normal School Certificate in 1930, graduated from Marshall College (now Marshall University) in 1948, received her master’s degree from West Virginia University in 1962, and ABD (known as All But Dissertation) in place of a Ph.D.
Mrs. Phipps taught in the Greenbrier County School system for 42.7 years. She started teaching at Russellville, WV, followed by other schools in Greenbrier County: Chestnut Grove, Marfrance, Meadow Dale, Lowry, and Crichton, and was East Rainelle Elementary principal, retiring in 1975. She was the first woman principal in Greenbrier County.
She was a caring person, as she cared for her daughter, mother, father, grandparents, and brothers in their last illnesses before their deaths.
Mrs. Phipps was preceded in death by a daughter, Carolyn Virginia Phipps; mother, Henrietta Harlow Phipps; father, Joseph S. O’Dell; grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Harlow, first editor and owner of The Greenbrier Independent Newspaper Volume 1 June 1888; grandmother, Henrietta Renick Harlow; four sisters, Annette V. Thayer, Myrtle E. O’Dell, Mattie Renick O’Dell, and Ethel P. Hughes; and four brothers, Thomas E. O’Dell, John W. O’Dell, Samuel W. O’Dell, and Henry O’Dell.
She is survived by a niece, Stella Hageman and husband, Richard, of Salt Lake City, UT; and other nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.
Many thanks to all the employees of Heartland of Rainelle Nursing Home for their care, friends who visited her at Heartland, doctors and nurses at both Greenbrier Valley Medical Center and Raleigh County General Hospital, and special thanks to Dr. Connie Anderson.
Services will be held at the Wallace & Wallace Funeral Chapel in Rainelle on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 2 PM with Pastors John Wyatt and Jay Hicks officiating.
Burial will be in the Soule Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery.
Friends may visit one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
Pallbearers will be Warren Hunter, Travis Hunter, Danny Sanford, Andy Hanson, Robert L. Martin, and David Butler.
Send online condolences to www.wallaceandwallacefh.com.
Wallace & Wallace of Rainelle is in charge of arrangements.
Obituary originally published in the May 2, 2014, edition of the West Virginia Daily News.