Wetzel County Inducting Two New Hall of Famers, Eller and Yoho
The Wetzel County Hall of Fame is proud to announce the next two inductees into the Wetzel County Hall of Fame: Gary Eller and Pansy Yoho. The ceremony will take place at 5pm on Friday, June 28, at the Wetzel County Museum located on Main Street in New Martinsville. The public is invited to attend and celebrate these two noted Wetzel Countians.
Gary Eller was born and raised in Wetzel County and is a 1963 graduate of Magnolia High School. Gary went on to further his education with a B S in Chemistry from WVU in 1967, and continued his post doctoral work at Georgia Tech from 1971-1974. In 1974, Gary began his career in nuclear science and engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory and retired after a 30 year career to southwest Idaho where he currently resides.
One of Gary’s passions is the preservation of historically based songs and he has published two booklets with CD’s of early songs from our region: Songs, Poems, and Stories of the Wetzel County WV Region as well as A Sampler of Early Songs of West Virginia and the Upper Ohio Valley, covering songs from the 1770’s when the area was being settled and there were still buffalo up to the early 1900’s.
In 2006 Gary started the Idaho Songs Project and has published 15 CD/booklets on historically-based songs of early Idaho. Recently, he taught a 3 credit hour course on American Ballads at College of Idaho, was a board member of the National Old Time Fiddle Contest for 5 years, and started and directed the Weiser Banjo Contest and Weiser Bluegrass Music Camps. Gary has played American roots music since childhood and for eight years he was the banjoist for a progressive regional bluegrass band Chicken Dinner Road. He currently leads The Storytellers Band and is a member of the Idaho Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, traveling Idaho performing historically based Idaho songs.
Pansy Yoho Price, “The Girl from West Virginia”, has been singing her heartfelt songs in the Wetzel County area for over 70 years. Pansy was born on July 19, 1930 at the long-gone town of Wheat between present day Wileyville and Knob Fork. Her first public performance was at age thirteen at a local talent contest and she performed with her sister.
Pansy’s first band was “The Wetzel County Trailblazers”. She became a strong lead and harmony singer. She also developed into an excellent rhythm guitar player and traditional 5-string banjo player, playing in many different groups over seven decades.
Pansy has also been a prolific songwriter and poet. Fourteen of her original songs have been captured on CD. Her earliest works include “My Darling Baby Boy” and “Last Letter” written in 1948 and recorded by Mac O’Dell in Nashville. Later songs include “I Love My Gamblin’ Man” and “The Angel, Me and the Toad”, written in 2005.
Pansy’s nephew Gary calls her “the Hazel Dickens who never left home”.
Both Gary’s CD/booklets featuring local songs and Pansy’s CD will be available at the Museum.