Fifty-five family members, some from as far away as California, gathered in Parkersburg last week to celebrate their heritage and honor Thomas and Helen Solomon.
The family reunion was organized and hosted by Fred Solomon, 82, of Fort Mill, S.C., a 1949 graduate of Parkersburg High School and 1959 graduate of Marietta College with a degree in petroleum engineering.
"I wanted the family to be proud of our history in Parkersburg," Solomon said. "It was important for me" to have the reunion here.
"We are blessed to have Tom and Helen as parents. They instilled in us the value of hard work, Christian beliefs and made sure we were educated," Fred said of his parents.
Thomas and Helen Solomon were born in Syria - he in Saidnaya and she in Homs. They settled in Parkersburg in 1930 and raised four children: Fred, Rose, Sylvia and Marsha. All four Solomon children were married at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Parkersburg.
Fred and his late wife, Patricia (Schlarb), were married in 1957 by Fred's boyhood friend in Parkersburg, the newly ordained Catholic priest P. Edward Sadie. Sadie, 83, is now a monsignor and rector at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charleston.
Sadie, also of Syrian descent, celebrated a Memorial Mass on Saturday evening at St. Francis Xavier during the reunion. He led a prayer before a Syrian dinner afterward at Chams Lebanese Cuisine on Market Street prepared by restaurant owners Chams Ekelman and Rizkallah "Rick" Helou.
Thomas Solomon owned the Grand and Monroe hotels and the Liberty Grille, all in downtown Parkersburg, and was a founding member of the former Syrian-American Welfare Club on Mary Street, a center of social activities in the Syrian-American community, said Fred Solomon.
Thomas, who died in 1972, and Helen, who died in 1992, are buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Parkersburg.
Other highlights of the three-day Solomon reunion included a tour of the family home at 1136 Market St., Mayor Bob Newell issuing a proclamation honoring the Solomon family reunion Friday at Fort Boreman Historical Park, visiting Mount Carmel Cemetery and visiting with Freddie and Noha Haddad on Jackson Avenue, where the Solomons also lived.
Fred's sisters and their husbands, Sylvia and Jim Earley of Lancaster, Ohio, and Marsha and Don Hamilton of Charlotte, N.C., attended the reunion. Their sister Rose Hyde is deceased.
"Mother and Dad would be proud of the family members who are in the banking industry, teachers, engineers, nurses and in the military," Fred said.
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Tickets went on sale this week for the fourth annual "WVU Tailwaggin' Tailgate Party," one of the most popular fundraisers in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The fun begins at 5 p.m. Aug. 22 at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna. Proceeds will be used for capital improvements at the Humane Society of Parkersburg's shelter at 530 29th St., said Karen Katchur, chairman of the SPOT (Stopping Pet Overpopulation Together) committee.
Offered will be a reverse drawing with more than $7,000 in cash payouts, an auction, games, photo booth, disc jockey, food catered by the 19th Street Meat Market in Parkersburg and chair massages by Daniel Rich. A total of 300 tickets are available for the event, which sold out last year. Tickets can be purchased at Jon Six Salon, Buttermore Jewelers, Lee's Studio, the humane society shelter and by contacting Katchur at 304-615-1173.
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They weren't on her announced agenda for campaign stops in Wood County on Wednesday, but U.S. Senate Republican candidate Shelley Moore Capito squeezed in visits to see local residents at the Parkersburg Country Club and Bob Marshall's insurance agency in Vienna. Following a visit to Wincore Windows & Doors on Staunton Avenue at 2 p.m. and Marshall's office at 2:45 p.m. and before a meet and greet with employees of the Mid-Ohio Valley Medical Group in Vienna at 4:45 p.m., Capito attended a by-invitation-only "relaxed" social gathering at the country club, hosted by Teresa Crumbaker of Vienna.
Capito's good friends J.T. and Mary Thomas of Vienna were out of town and unable to attend. Crumbaker's husband, Robin, set up Capito's tour in Wood County. Delegate Tom Azinger of Vienna, who celebrated his 79th birthday on Wednesday, attended the country club get-together and other stops on the tour.