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William Demby Sr. and William Demby Jr. remembered

    While searching through Briefcase II, I came upon two relatively old pieces of mail from individuals regarding the same subject William Demby and his family. One letter was from Millie A. Merchant of Jackson Avenue in Clarksburg, and the other is from Virginia Riley of Cincinnati, Ohio. I had written last September about the author, William Demby.
Mrs. Riley said that William E. Demby was the father of the author and was a friend of her late husband, Charles E. Riley, both of whom were members of the Clarksburg Choralaires. They were a group of talented male singers directed by Newton Fink. Another member of the group was Bill Stealey, my uncle, who died unexpectedly in 1981.
    Mrs. Riley wrote: "I feel I had to share an article which appeared in a Hope Gas publication about William E. "Bill" Demby. The year, as noted, was 1970, when he became 80 years old. I was an employee in the Payroll Department of Hope Gas in 1945 as was Mr. Demby, a valued and respectable one, I might add. The life and times of the senior "Bill" Demby is awesome and should be an inspiration to many."
    The 1970 newsletter article, "Big Year for Bill Demby," stated: "On march 14 he will have completed 50 years of service with the gas industry, and on May 29, he and his wife, Gertrude, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. These memorable events are the latest milestones along a fascinating journey through life, a journey highlighted by the goal of providing a college education for seven children despite such roadblocks as the Depression of the '30s and World War II. And now, with that rough but rewarding portion of the journey behind him, Bill is relaxing and enjoying himself as he encounters each new turn of events." The senior Bill Demby would have been 109 years old this year.
    The Merchants wrote of his son, the author, who they said is living at Sag Harbor, N.Y., where he recently completed his fifth book. His books include "Beetle Creek", "Catacombs", "Little Boy Blue" and "Love Story Black." They mentioned that "Beetle Creek" has been placed around the country in various universities.
    Millie Merchant said she is presently engaged to marry the second son, Frank Demby, a retired cardiologist who resides in the Bay Valley of San Francisco. The third child is Juanita Demby who is retired and lives in Washington, D.C.; then Dorothy Demby, also retired and living in New York City; Gloria Demby, a teacher, who died unexpectedly nine years ago; Malvina Demby, also a teacher, who died last year in Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Ms. Merchant stated that William Demby Sr. and his wife, Gertrude Demby, upon his retirement from the gas company here, moved to Washington, D.C.,  and resided with their daughter, Juanita. Upon the death of Mrs. Demby, Mr. Demby moved to New York and resided with his daughter, Dorothy, until his death several years ago.
    My thanks to Mrs. Riley and to Ms. Merchant for their information and my apologies to both for being so late with using it.

    Alumni of the Washington Irving High School Classes of 1963 and 1964 are reminded that there's another reunion planning meeting at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at Robert C. Byrd High School. Bring any addresses of "long-lost" classmates you may have.

This time I'll close with a thought from Joe Ryan. (I'm not really certain who Joe Ryan is, but he's got the right idea.) He said, "There's nothing to match curling up with a good book when there's a repair job to be done around the house."

Exponent Editorial, Friday, Feb. 19, 1999

Board was correct to reject waiver for grading policy

    The Harrison County Board of Education was correct when it rejected a request to allow students at Lincoln High School to pass a course even if the student was making "Ds" and "Fs."
    Lincoln's school improvement council had asked for a waiver to the new grading policy that no longer allows two "Ds" and two "Fs" to be rounded up to a "D" in order to let the student pass. The policy does allow a teacher to round a high "B" up to an "A." Some teachers found that to be unfair. One commented that some students seem to be more equal than others.
    We don't see it as an issue of equality. Rounding a "B" up to an "A" is something quite different from rounding an "F" up to a "D." Superintendent Robert Kittle told the teachers that changing the policy would not do the students any favors.
"We're going to have to raise standards, not lower them, in order to help our kids succeed in school and in life," he said.
Obviously, if the student is making such bad grades, he's just not getting it. Allowing him to pass and move up or even graduate would be doing him a disservice.
    Is it a disservice to round up "Bs" to "As?" Certainly the student making better grades understands the subject. Rounding up a good grade to a better grade may seem unfair to some and that's understandable. But we don't feel it would have the profoundly negative effect on the good student as it would for the student who is failing the class.
    It's a tough world out there and it's getting tougher. Competition is fierce. We can't relax our academic standards and expect our students to do well out in the marketplace. What the school board did the other night may seem unfair to some, but it probably did a lot of students a favor.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser, James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.

Telegram Editorial, Friday, Feb. 19, 1999

Elizabeth Dole -the right choice for the
first woman president

    It would be great, wouldn't it, if the first woman president of the United States were a Republican. Not a left-leaning, on-the-fringe feminist Democrat, but a hard-working, conservative-to-centrist Republican. Like Elizabeth Dole. Wouldn't that be great?
    This isn't an endorsement of Ms. Dole. It's not time for that. But it is time to thumb our noses at the Democratic Party. Forever trumpeting itself as the party that "cares" about women and women's rights, the Democratic Party is in second place when it comes to fielding a woman as a serious presidential candidate.
    It's the Republican Party disparaged as the party that wants to keep women "in their place" that has a better chance of helping a woman win the White House. Elizabeth Dole isn't an official presidential candidate yet. But she visited New Hampshire last week, planned to visit Iowa this week, and talks like a presidential candidate. Here's what she said at a Chamber of Commerce dinner in Manchester, N.H.:
    "At a time when the presidency has been tainted ... our confidence in our leaders is shaky. But we can rebuild it. If I run, this will be an important reason why: Because the United States of America deserves a government worthy of her people."
Mrs. Dole favors lower taxes, better schools, a strong fight against illegal drugs. But she is no right-winger.
    "I revere free enterprise," she said in New Hampshire. Yet  "capitalism is imperfect. Conservatives should never hesitate to speak out against the unregulated, unadulterated pursuit of cash if it leads to the coarsening of our culture, to the pollution of our airwaves or the pollution of our air."
    It's a long way from a New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce dinner to the White House. No one can say whether Elizabeth Dole will be our first woman president. But no one can deny that she is the top contender. And no one can deny that she is a Republican, not a Democrat.
Tim Langer
Telegram Editorial Board member

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Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999