The Intelligencer — Some of the most influential people in the fields of industry, education, public service, entertainment and other fields in Wheeling history gained official entry Friday night in a prestigious and exclusive club.
Ten new members of the Wheeling Hall of Fame were inducted Friday night in the biennial ceremony held at WesBanco Arena.
Robert DeFrancis, chairman of the Wheeling Hall of Fame board, said the event always is a memorable one.
“At the end of it, invariably, we know we have done our jobs right,” he said.
Friday’s inductees included Ziegenfelder Company’s former president and CEO and current board chairman Lisa Allen; Karla Boos, who founded Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre in 1990; philanthropist J.B. Chambers, whose name adorns many projects throughout the city; Ron DiLorenzo, former Wheeling Park High School dean of students and chair of the guidance department; historic preservationist Beverly Fluty; longtime Wheeling Intelligencer sports editor and sports historian Doug Huff; Don Levenson, founder of the Wheeling Antenna Company, or WACO; Hugh Stobbs, founder and longtime race director of the Elby’s Classic Distance Race, now the Ogden Newspapers Half-Marathon Classic; renowned singer and musician B.E. Taylor; and the Rev. Bonnie Thurston, a noted pastor, scholar, author and poet.
Chambers, DiLorenzo, Fluty, Levenson, Stobbs and Taylor all were inducted posthumously. Brann Altmeyer, chair of the J.B. Chambers Memorial Foundation, said it was important to offer gratitude to those still with us who have earned the honor of the Wheeling Hall of Fame, to make sure they know their labors are appreciated.
“Take the opportunity to thank people like Bonnie Thurston, Doug Huff, Karla Boos, Lisa Allen, people who are still with us for what they do to promote our community,” Altmeyer said. “We take for granted what people like Earl Oglebay, J.B. Chambers, the Levenson family and countless benefactors of Wheeling have given to us. For those who are still here, please be sure to take a minute to thank them.”
Friday’s posthumous inductees still have plenty of important lessons to teach. Among them is to appreciate the city’s history and the work that those in the past had done to cement what Wheeling is today. Fluty’s contribution to the preservation of Wheeling’s history is what put her in this Hall of Fame class.
“When we respect, preserve and learn from the past, we become more likely to appreciate and understand the present and improve the future,” said Wendy Fluty Hinerman, who, along with sister Holly Fluty Dempsey, accepted their mother’s induction in her memory.
The inductees, or those who stood for them, offered their thanks to Wheeling as well. They all said that the city and its people were so instrumental to their growth as people and as influential members of their fields. All were quick to profess their love for Wheeling and for those who helped them on their way.
“I grew up in a household where art and culture was a part of our everyday lives,” Boos said. “It was a lens to investigate the world through. That is so fundamental to who I am. And I am so grateful to this community which was hugely nurturing to a budding artist.”
The inductees also understood the gravity of their new status as Hall of Famers. They have looked at the inductees who have come before them. They know them or know of their works within the city. To join them in this pantheon is something they will never forget.
“I stand here tonight thankful for this honor,” Allen said, “and humbled by the strength and commitment of so many whose shoulders I stand upon. It is in their memory and their honor that I respectfully and wholeheartedly thank you for this honor.”