August 10, 2005
From local reports
Times, Marietta, OH
Fenton, 89, died Tuesday afternoon leaving an impressive legacy to
the Fenton family, the Fenton Art Glass Co., the Fenton Museum and
the glass collectors around the world.
“He was a great leader and certainly provided a lot of support and
advice,” said his son George Fenton, CEO and current president of
Fenton Art Glass. “He was personally very caring and, in business,
very wise and very astute.”
The Fenton family will hold a visitation at the First United
Methodist Church in Williamstown from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and from
10 a.m. to noon Saturday.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday at the church just
a few blocks away from the family-run glass manufacturing
Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford said the loss of Fenton, former
Fenton Art Glass president, was devastating. He was a pillar of
the community and an integral part of the city. Ford learned of
Fenton’s death when she returned from dinner around 8:45 p.m. to
find a message from the Fentons on her answering machine.
Fenton will be missed by local collectors, as well. Fenton Art
Glass Collector of America member Frank Brum, 77, of 603 Wooster
St., Marietta, has known Fenton for several years.
“He would always attend our local club meetings and when ever we
would have a lunch or a cookout he would always bring a pie,” Brum
said. “When he passed away there was a world of information about
glass that was lost with him. We will miss him tremendously.”
Ford keeps fond memories of Fenton.
“He was one of the dearest people who cared about people so much
and cared about the town. He was just a very caring person and no
doubt one of the nicest gentlemen I ever met. He was always doing
something for the town,” she said.
Most recently, Fenton donated five acres that will become Fenton
Park along Third Street. The project has progressed slowly due to
recent flooding problems, she said.
“You can just look around all over the town and see his kindness
and goodness,” Ford said. “That’s really what he lived for, his
family, his business and the people in the town. This was his
Ford said Fenton often visited her at city hall. She said she
always enjoyed his company and his good nature.
“He would come in and sit down and talk about how things got
started and how things have developed. He loved our town. He will
be greatly missed. In fact, it just won’t seem the same without
him,” she said.
Harold Burdette, a longtime employee of Fenton Art Glass, said he
remembers Fenton from his early days at the factory. Fenton was
one of a kind, Burdette said.
“I remember Frank from way back, probably 53 years. He was a good
man,” he said. “Everybody liked Frank in the old days. He was a
Burdette said he cannot imagine what work will be like today at
the factory as news of Fenton’s death continues to spread.
Fenton Art Glass is continuing a 100th anniversary celebration
throughout 2005 with special glass productions. The celebration
kicked off in Williamstown July 29, but Fenton was too ill to
attend. His most recent public appearance at the factory was with
Gov. Joe Manchin’s May visit to help commemorate the company’s
Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce President Charlotte Keim said
she was confident the company will continue to thrive under the
direction of the surviving family members.
“It is really sad that this has happened,” Keim said. “But on the
other hand it was so wonderful he was able to see the company’s
100th anniversary ... And knowing the rest of the family members,
that company will continue to be one of the best in the area.”
Fenton was the fifth child and first son of Frank L. Fenton,
founder of Fenton Art Glass. He was born Dec. 1 1915 in the
original family home on Williams Avenue. He attended grade school
in Williamstown, but crossed over to Marietta, to attend high
He entered Marietta College in September 1932 during the Great
Depression and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1936.
Frank Fenton began working for the company while in college. He
tried several times to get a summer job at the factory, but his
father turned him down, saying others needed the work more than he
did. Finally, he was given a position by his uncle.
Long after he became president, someone asked him if he started at
the bottom and worked his way up. His reply?
“No, I started at the top ... and worked down,” according to the
company’s Web site.
For nearly four decades, Frank along with his brother Bill headed
Fenton Art Glass, and the organization grew from a modest business
to a company known worldwide for its innovative products, the Web
According to the Fenton Web page, Frank’s latest role was as a
Fenton Art Glass historian. He spoke to collector clubs and did a
great deal of research, tasks he truly loved.
[PHOTO CAPTION ABOVE]
W.Va. Gov. Joe Manchin greets Frank Fenton as part of the Fenton
Art Glass centennial celebration in May in Williamstown. (file