PARKERSBURG - Amanda Love of Parkersburg was remembered Saturday for her kindness in helping people who were experiencing difficult times.
Love, 52, a former local nightclub and beauty salon owner, community activist, mentor and longtime female impersonator, passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 4 at Camden Clark Medical Center, Memorial Campus, according to her obituary.
More than 100 people attended a memorial service for Love on Saturday afternoon at Lambert-Tatman Funeral Home in south Parkersburg.
A celebration of Love's life, featuring performances by female impersonators, will be 10 p.m. Dec. 1 at The Other Side club in Parkersburg. All proceeds will benefit West Virginia AIDS charities.
Kent Woofter, a West Virginia native who owns a nightclub in Greensboro, N.C., where Love had performed, was "emcee" at the memorial service. Woofter said he had been friends with Love for 34 years and worked with Love's family in putting together a tribute program.
Woofter said Love raised money at numerous benefit shows and supported cancer patients, the Family Crisis Intervention Center's domestic violence shelter in Parkersburg and the AIDS/HIV prevention task force.
"Amanda sincerely cared for others," Woofter said. She helped women "reclaim their confidence following cancer treatments by styling their wigs and doing their makeup. She knew it would help the healing process for them to look their best," he said.
Woofter noted that Love was born Kevin Michael Radcliff. Her parents are the late Carolyn McAtee Radcliff and Charles Ewing Radcliff and she is survived by two sisters, Tammy Radcliff Havens of Gainesville, Texas, and Kelly Radcliff Mallett of Marietta, according to the obituary.
Woofter said Love had an "incredible" presence on stage and loved to entertain as a female impersonator. "Amanda had a unique voice, something between Mae West and Miss Kitty of 'Gunsmoke' fame, that was clearly her signature at the microphone and in performances that included storytelling with a comedic flair," Woofter said in an email.
"She could fill the room with laughter and was popular on the club scene," Woofter said.
Love's last performance was at a nightclub in Huntington on Nov. 2, Woofter said. She had lived and worked as an entertainer in Morgantown for several years before returning to her hometown of Parkersburg a few weeks ago, Woofter said.
She performed at clubs in Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Charleston, North Carolina, Baltimore and other areas for many years, Woofter said.
Some of the entertainers she had mentored over the years spoke at Saturday's memorial service on how Love had helped them.
In recent years, Love owned the Parkersburg nightclub Club Utopia.
It was difficult not to notice Love around town, with her styled hair, makeup and full figure.
As a hair stylist and business owner in Parkersburg, she operated Illusions Hair Odyssey during the mid 1980s and early '90s.
At the memorial service, Judi Ball, former director of the Crisis Intervention Center in Parkersburg, recounted how Love put together an "amazing" Las Vegas-style show, bringing in entertainers from Vegas, to raise $10,000 for the domestic violence shelter. Love also visited with the people at the shelter, Ball said.
Ball said Love talked about the importance of accepting and helping all people.
Sharyn Tallman, former Parkersburg city councilman, said Love's kindness left a huge impact on others. She met Love about 28 years ago when they were neighbors.
"She taught me to accept others" (no matter their appearance and status in life)," Tallman said.