Businessman made area a better place
August 11, 2005
Parkersburg News, Parkersburg, WV
A time of joy and celebration for the Fenton family has turned
into sadness with the death Tuesday of family patriarch Frank M.
Fenton, 89, had been in ill health recently, but his death coming
as it did in the midst of Fenton Art Glass' 100th anniversary
celebration, was a sad event for the family and the community.
However, we hope everyone feeling the pain of Fenton's death will
remember his business sense and leadership during the previous
four decades that helped make this celebration possible. During
the nearly 40 years he and his brother Bill headed the company,
Fenton Art Glass grew from a small business to a name known
worldwide for its quality and innovative products.
"He was a great leader and certainly provided a lot of support and
advice," his son and current CEO and president of Fenton Art Glass
George Fenton said. "He was personally very caring and in
business, very wise and very astute."
Fenton, himself, liked to say about his tenure with the company,
"I started at the top ... and worked down." This was undoubtedly
true. He knew his business from top to bottom and was beloved by
the Fenton employees. As longtime Fenton employee Harold Burdette
told the newspaper, it will be hard to imagine the mood at the
factory as word of Fenton's death spreads to employees. "I
remember Frank from way back, probably 53 years," he said. He was
a good man. "Everybody liked Frank ... . He was a kind person."
Frank Fenton-and all of the Fenton family-always shared its
success with the community of Williamstown. Frank Fenton loved
Williamstown. One of his final public acts was to donate five
acres to the city of Williamstown that will become Fenton Park.
"He was one of the dearest people who cared about people so much
and cared about the town," Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford said. "He
was just a very caring person and no doubt one of the nicest
gentlemen I ever met," she said.
In his later years, Frank Fenton took on the role to which because
of his longevity with the company he was so well suited-that of
company historian. He spoke to collector clubs and did hours and
hours of research on the history of the company. It also was a
role he relished. Fenton was a bridge to the company's long and
rich past. His death is not only a loss to the company, but to the
Mid-Ohio Valley as well. We share the Fenton family's sorrow at
this time. We hope they will find strength in his long life and
his accomplishments, both in business and for his community.
"That's really what he lived for," Ford said. "His family, his
business and the people in the town. This was his home."
Today, that home is much saddened by his passing.