Two Former Pocahontas Residents Spearhead Efforts To Repave Mountain View Cemetery Roads
Marlinton, WV – They may live in another part of the country, but for Dotty Cloonan Newcomer and Letcher Simmons, the call of their native Pocahontas County is still strong. Recently fate seemed to play a hand in bringing the two together to work on a project near and dear to their hearts – re-paving the roads in the Mountain View Cemetery in Marlinton. Simmons explains how they got involved in the project.
“Well, it was a few years ago that we noticed that the road really needed paving, was really in bad shape” he says. “And I had talked to Kenneth Faulknier a few years ago about it; we talked about it but it kinda went by the wayside. And they he called me one night and said Ms. Newcomer from Florida was interested in the paving, so he gave her my number and we’ve been talking ever since, so we decided to come up here and to push this project forward.”
He says they’ve got to raise quite a bit of money for the project.
“Well right now we’ve got a figure of about $75,000.00” he says. “Now with the price of oil, that could go up, so the quicker we get the money, the cheaper it’s going to be. We’re not real sure yet, we’ve got to submit bids and we’re going to get the best price we can get.”
Newcomer says people will also be able to track how the fundraising is going.
“We’re going to have a thermometer where you enter the cemetery” she says. “It’s going to be a large thermometer and as donations are coming in, we keep marking off the percentages. And people can go up there, they can look, they can see where we are, and you might say hey, it’s time for me to give a little more.”
They hope to have a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the project in time for Memorial Day in 2012. Newcomer talks about her connection to Pocahontas County.
“I was born and raised in Pocahontas County, the daughter of Stella and Merl Cloonan of Millpoint” she says. “I went to Hillsboro HS where I was a cheerleader, [and] graduated Validictorian of my graduating class. And from there I went onto Washington, D.C.”
Following an almost two decade long career as fashion model in D.C., she met her husband, and performed with him in ballroom dancing exhibitions and a touring musical quartet. They eventually retired to the Sunshine state.
“The biggest blow of my life was in 2009 when death took him away” she says, “and now he’s in the Mountain View Cemetery. That’s another reason for me to really want to get in there and give something back.”
Likewise, Simmons has a long history with the county.
“Yes, I was born and raised in Marlinton, right there on 2nd Avenue below the Times office” he says. “My dad L.O. Simmons was a printer there in 1901, and he retired in 1940. I went to Marlinton HS, and graduated from there, and went into the Army after that.”
“Marlinton has always been a great place for me, it’s home, it’s your roots. Dotty and I got together with this and thought we’d just give something back if we could.”
Donations to the Mountain View Cemetery Paving Project can be mailed or dropped off to Pendleton Community Bank in Marlinton, care of Phillip Cain. For more information, please contract Cain at 304-799-6700. You can also contact Dotty Cloonan Newcomer at 386-322-2454 or Letcher Simmons at 919-550-6474.