Zyla retires after 39 years with Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Photo by Jeff Baughan Melani Zyla will retire from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel on Aug. 10 after almost 39 years.

PARKERSBURG — A long-time employee at The Parkersburg News and Sentinel is retiring after nearly 39 years with the newspaper.

HR Clerk Melani Zyla started on Sept. 14, 1979, and will work her last day on Aug. 10.

Zyla is originally from Masontown, Pa., a community in southwest Pennsylvania just north of the Mason-Dixon Line that is the border with West Virginia

“I grew up on a farm,” she said.

She and her husband, Luke, met at West Virginia University where she was a music major. Her husband’s career determined how she ended up in Parkersburg.

Luke was hired as the assistant band director at Ravenswood High School, then was hired as the band director at Franklin Junior High School in Parkersburg.

“And that’s how we ended up here,” she said.

Zyla, who worked at Fayette Bank in Uniontown, Pa., was looking for a job when she came to the newspaper.

“Melani has been an exemplary employee for the 24 years we have worked together while at The News and Sentinel,” Accounting Manager Lisa Kelley said. “There have been several transitions over the years, but she has always been a stable and reliable part of my staff. She has been dedicated throughout her career and a vital part of my office.

“On a personal note, I’m not sure what we’ll do without her,” Kelley said. “I wish her all the best in a well-deserved retirement. She will be sorely missed.”

Zyla will be succeeded by Mary Fought.

The entire Zyla family is involved in music.

Son Paul lives at home and son Marc is the principal French horn with the Quad Cities Orchestra in Davenport, Iowa. Paul sings with the Parkersburg Choral Society.

“That’s one of the things I’m hoping to do, go out there and hear him play,” she said.

Her husband is the second horn with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, but also has an internet-based business, Soft Stands, which makes and markets French horn stands. Luke makes the stands from scratch.

“He ships them everywhere,” Melani said.

She will become involved in the company bookkeeping.

Working for The News and Sentinel has been rewarding, but Zyla said she is looking forward to retirement and the time to do things with husband Luke.

“I just really want to catch up on some of the hobbies I like to do, and I do a lot of reading,” Zyla said. “I’ve got a lot of books to go through, a lot of books.”

She will remain active with the Parkersburg Choral Society, of which she is on the board of directors. Her tenure with the Choral Society spans nearly the entire time she has been in Parkersburg.

Zyla said she looks forward to the spontaneity that comes with retirement.

“You’re not locked into a schedule,” she said.

Retirement also will give her time for other hobbies, such as needlework.

“And I love to cook,” she said.