Walter Brooks Schoonover, 91, of Clay, West Virginia, entered into rest Monday, February 18, 2019 after a short illness. Born April 24, 1927, Walter was the son of Henry Harrison Schoonover and Orfa Marie Hart Schoonover. In addition to his parents, he was also predeceased by a brother, Kermit, who was killed in action while flying over Europe during World War II, and a sister, Janice (Tom) Frey of New York. He has two surviving brothers, Orvil Schoonover of Florida, and Gilbert (Correna) Schoonover of Clay, and sister, Carole Schoonover, of Akron, OH.
Walter leaves behind his dear wife, Evalena Mae Williams Schoonover, his college sweetheart, formerly of Craigsville, now of Clay. They had celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary October 2, 2018.
Walter and Evalena have three children: Judith (Walter) Jahnke of FL, Lawrence (Kathleen) Schoonover of Procious, and Karen (Lane) Ellis of Pinch. Walter enjoyed 8 grandchildren: Chris (Jeanne) Wilson of NC, Lawrence (Mercedes) Schoonover of VA, Benjamin (Chasity) Ellis of Charleston, Britni (Drew) Caplin of TN, Rebecca (Jeremiah) Babcock of NC, Joshua (Danielle) Ellis of Charleston, Wesley (Ciera) Schoonover of TN, and Kirsten Schoonover (Kyle Jones) of AL., 15 great-grandchildren, 5 nephews, 7 nieces, and their families, all of whom he loved very much.
Walter had a very full and varied 91 years. He was born at home in Elkhurst, WV (across the swinging bridge), the second oldest of six children. He attended a one-room school in Elkhurst, and later worked at Clay County Bank while attending Clay County High School. Walter joined the Air Force during the end of World War II and was tasked with distributing payroll to the families of the servicemen overseas. Afterwards he attended WV Institute of Technology at Montgomery, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree while working part-time at the Montgomery National Bank. He taught school for five years at Clay County High School, and then took a position teaching at his alma mater, WV Tech. After a short period, he pursued a master’s degree at the University of Colorado in Denver, while Evalena taught school in Crowley, CO. When his father suddenly passed, and while expecting their first child, they left CO for WV to be closer to his mother and siblings. He completed his master’s degree at West Virginia University in Morgantown while Evalena and children lived in Clay and supervised construction of a new home where he lived for the next 64 years. Subsequently he worked for the WV Health Department in Charleston, and while also selling insurance, went back to teaching at WV Tech, remaining there for 35 years. He facilitated many Clay County students’ attendance to Tech and gave rides to school for some who might not otherwise have been able to attend.
During this time, he operated a dog kennel for AKC registered and selectively bred dogs, completed tax returns and helped to manage many Clay County businesses. He began renovating and renting housing and office space in 1967. His many hobbies usually had something to do with propagating life. He was gifted at gardening (both vegetables and flowers, raising prize-winning orchids), bee-keeping, animal husbandry, and even raising exotic tropical birds. His office was often permeated with the songs of canaries. Walter was also an excellent cook, and often commandeered Evalena’s kitchen for “mass-production” of fruit-cakes, chili, caramel popcorn balls, processed honey or other treats.
Walter retired from WV Tech in 1988, was named Professor Emeritus in 1989 and returned to teaching to retire a second time in 1990, donated funding for a new computer lab in the Accounting and Business department in 1994 and was honored as Distinguished Alumnus at Tech in 1995.
During these many years, Walter and Evalena supported the Clay United Methodist Church, and firmly believed in doing good works for members of their community. Walter would listen to hours of recordings of Christmas and gospel music and worshipped along with televised ministers. He always made time with his grandchildren to listen to Garth Brooks, study war history, or research genealogy. He was friends with most and trained many WV accountants and was always an advocate for continuing one’s education through life.
The family truly appreciates the kind and compassionate care of the staff of Braxton County Memorial Hospital and Dr. Doug Given. We also thank long-time family friend Vicky Looney, and personal care-givers Sherry, Monica, and Pat.
Walter will be sorely missed by Evalena, family, and friends. A celebration of his life was held at the Wilson-Smith Funeral home in Clay, WV on Saturday, February 23, 2019 with visitation at 11:30 a.m. and funeral at 1 p.m.
Burial at a later date will be in Clay Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Clay United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 432, Clay, WV 25043.