Mary Frances Shepler

Mary Frances Keys Shepler, 92, of Elkins, passed from this life on April 5, 2014.

She was born July 22, 1921, the third daughter of C.C. and Audrey Hughes Keys.

She was a graduate of Salem High School and Salem College with an A.B. Degree. She taught home economics and physical education during World War II at Doddridge County High School.

On Oct. 24, 1941, she married Ralph Sterling Shepler, who preceded her in death Feb. 20, 2008.

They moved from Clarksburg, in 1950, to Elkins to open the C.C. Keys Music Store. They also developed the Tygart Valley Cable System and were responsible for remodeling the Tygart Hotel into an apartment complex, which she managed.

She is survived by one daughter, Amy Shepler Smith and husband, Mark, of Los Angeles, Calif.; and two sons, Stephen and wife, Carolyn, of Elkins and David and wife, Cindy, of Knoxville, Tenn. She is also survived by six grandchildren, Bryan Shepler and wife, Heather, and Ben Shepler and wife, Leah, of Elkins; Sara Shepler Nary and husband, Mark, and Ashley Shepler of Charleston and Alexandra and Andrew Smith of Los Angeles, Calif. Surviving are six great-grandchildren, Isaac, Riley, Eva and Rocco Shepler and Kynlee and Keaghan Nary.

Besides her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by a son, J. Daniel Shepler; and two sisters, Katherine Thorniley and Wilma Zimowski.

Mary Frances was very civic-minded, serving as president of many organizations – Junior Women’s Club, the Woman’s Club of Elkins, Elkins Chamber of Commerce, College Aid and the Friends of Halliehurst. She was a life member of the GFWC Woman’s Club, having been a member for more than 60 years. As a member of the Woman’s Club of Elkins, she was most active in the arts and crafts having established the first Arts and Crafts Co-op in West Virginia. She was instrumental in developing the original Augusta Heritage Arts Workshops. She was an honorary member of Phi Beta Lambda National Business Fraternity where she was honored as the Businesswoman of the Year, a Merit Award winner and a Gordon Hermanson Service Award winner. She was also an honorary member of Sigma Beta Delta, an international honor society in business management and administration. With her husband Ralph, Mary Frances was named West Virginia Philanthropist of the Year in 1992 for their work in restoring Halliehurst on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. Under her direction, Halliehurst became executive offices for the college and an entertainment center for the college and community. She was a Davis & Elkins College board member and was made an honorary member for her work on the Davis & Elkins campus. She was an emeritus member of the College Aid Society, having been a member for more than 60 years. She delivered Meals on Wheels for many years. She became a member of First Baptist Church of Elkins in 1950 and was responsible for much of the remodeling of the church sanctuary and parlor.

Friends may call from 6-8 p.m. today at Tomblyn Funeral Home in Elkins. On Wednesday, April 9, she will be moved to Mountain State Memorial Gardens near Gilman where a graveside service will be conducted at 11 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Basil A. Hensley will officiate, and interment will follow.

The family asks memorial gifts be made to Halliehurst, Davis & Elkins College, 100 College Drive, Elkins, WV 26241, in memory of Mrs. Shepler. Tomblyn Funeral Home of Elkins is in charge of the arrangements for Mary Frances Shepler. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.tomblynfuneralhome.com.