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Frank M. Fenton (1915-2005)

(Williamstown, WV)  Frank M. Fenton, Historian, past President and past Chairman of the Board of the Fenton Art Glass Company, passed away on August 9, 2005, following a series of lingering health issues. Frank, the fifth of eight children born to Lillian and Frank L. Fenton, was born December 1, 1915, and was a lifelong resident of Williamstown, West Virginia.

Frank Fenton graduated from Marietta College in 1936. Along with his brother Bill, Frank assumed leadership positions at Fenton when their father and an uncle died in 1948. Under their stewardship for almost 40 years, the organization grew from a modest business to a company known worldwide for its innovative products. Most recently filling the role of Fenton Art Glass Historian, Frank was last seen publicly at a May appearance with West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin in celebration of the company's 100th anniversary.

Frank often made presentations to Fenton collector clubs, and his love for family and Fenton glass were always evident, as was his sense of humor. A friend to several generations of glass collectors, Frank is recalled fondly by many Fenton glass collectors who remember the pleasant times they spent with him.

He was active in various community organizations, including Artsbridge, the First United Methodist Church in Williamstown, Marietta Rotary, and the Williamstown Community Association. Frank Fenton served 36 years on the Marietta College Board of Trustees. Frank, along with Bill Fenton, established the Fenton Foundation to support local community needs. Frank most recently donated $25,000 to the town of Williamstown, along with five acres of land, to create a park.

Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth, in 1980 and his brother Wilmer "Bill" in December 2002. He is survived by his sons Frank, Tom, Mike, and George as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Frank M. Fenton left a wonderful legacy to the Fenton family, the Fenton Art Glass Company, the Fenton Museum and glass collectors everywhere.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to:

 

First United Methodist Church

304 W. Fifth Street

Williamstown, WV 26187

 

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Visitors to Fenton Art Glass will find a spacious Gift Shop and a pleasant museum. Free factory tours (M-F 8:15am to 4:00pm) take small groups of guests right out to the factory floor to see glassmaking "up close and personal." Friendly, knowledgeable tour guides explain all aspects of the operation. The Fenton tour has been ranked among the "top 10" factory tours nationwide by USA Today. In addition we have been named Rand McNally Best of the Road for 2006. For a factory tour schedule, click here. For a map, click here.

 

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