Sports with the Geritol Gang

The Geritol Gang is alive and kicking. But don’t try to talk politics with the members at their twice a month breakfast meetings in Vienna. These guys only want to talk sports.

Ron Stoops is president of the Geritol Gang that meets on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at 7 a.m. at the Vienna Senior Citizens Center, 706 29th St., to listen to sports-connected speakers, such as coaches, and talk sports. The club was formed more than 30 years ago by the late Bennett “Benny” Stump and others, said Stoops, who has been attending for 15 years. The group used to meet at Shoney’s in Parkersburg, before moving to the Blennerhassett Hotel, the Dils Center and then the senior citizens center in Vienna.

Stoops, 75, a retired Wood County Schools employee, said he didn’t really want to become president after Stump passed away but decided to take the job so the club could continue. “I didn’t want to see it die,” he said.

The Geritol Gang is not part of a national affiliation. “We are old retired guys who like sports,” he said.

Over the years, the club has collected many sports photographs, some of which have been given to WVU, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Glenville State College, and is trying to find a home for others.

Stoops said he would like to see south Parkersburg, Mineral Wells and other residents from southern Wood County attend the meetings. Parkersburg South High School football coach Mike Eddy spoke at a Geritol Gang meeting last year.

Stoops said he has not missed a West Virginia University home football game in 43 years. He also noted that former WVU basketball coach John Beilein, now at Michigan, spoke to the Geritol Gang a few years ago.

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Parkersburg native Hichael “Hike” Nedeff had many accomplishments during his 88-year-long life, but I will most remember him for his kindness and enthusiastic efforts in bringing a World War II troop landing ship from Greece to Alabama and eventually to Marietta. Nedeff, an all-state guard on the 1943 state champion Parkersburg High School football team, passed away Monday in Huber Heights, Ohio. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. today at St. Peter Catholic Church, 6161 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights, with his brother, the Rev. George Nedeff of Corpus Christi, Texas, as celebrant. A longtime teacher and wrestling official, Hike Nedeff’s obituary noted he started the wrestling program at University High School in Morgantown in 1949, the basketball program at Parkersburg Catholic High School in 1951 and the wrestling program at Tecumseh High School in Ohio in 1962. He was a 2001 inductee into the Greater Miami Valley (Ohio) Wrestling Association Hall of Fame and a 2010 inductee into the Tecumseh (Ohio) Athletic Hall of Fame. Nedeff, a U.S. Navy veteran, traveled with other crew members to the Greek island of Crete in 2000 to repair the LST 325 and bring it home to America in January 2001. Nedeff and others cleaned and maintained the ship, which carried tanks, troops and supplies during WWII, and Nedeff was pleased that the 325 visited Marietta in September 2010.

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Last Sunday’s 31st annual Lee’s Studio/Merle Norman employees picnic inside the Blennerhassett Hotel tent featured two special guests. Jana Ibarlucea and her 9-year-old son Jan from Prague, Czech Republic, were in town visiting Lee’s Studio owner Lee Rector and Wayne Waldeck, chief executive officer of Wal-Bon of Ohio Inc. The two local businessmen had met Ibarlucea, a banker, in Prague and invited her and her son to visit them in America. Jana enjoyed visiting the art museums and Central Park in New York City and Blennerhassett Island, Marietta and Parkersburg while in the Mid-Ohio Valley. It was her second visit to America-the first being 14 years ago-and Jan’s first visit. For the first 18 years of her life, Jana, 42, lived under Communist rule in what was then Czechoslovakia in central Europe. She now enjoys more freedoms under a parliamentary democracy form of government.

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Parkersburg area Mountaineers are invited to visit with West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Blennerhassett Hotel. Refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres will be provided at the WVU alumni reception hosted by the WVU Office of the President and the WVU Alumni Association.