Neptune marks 100 years of life

PARKERSBURG – A century of life was celebrated Saturday at First Baptist Church in honor of Virginia Neptune.

Neptune was born on June 29, 1913, and raised in Parkersburg . She taught at Parkersburg High School starting in 1935 after graduating from Marietta College.

“When I started teaching there, it was a junior and senior high school,” Neptune said during Saturday’s celebration. “I taught every grade from seventh to 12th, but I never taught the 11th grade.”

Neptune earned a bachelor of arts degree from Marietta College and a master’s degree in French from Ohio State University. She taught for 35 years – until 1975 – at PHS and until 1979 she worked in the Wood County Schools central office as the supervisor of secondary language arts teachers. Neptune was the chairwoman on the PHS English department from 1955-1975.

Over her years in teaching Neptune said she did not notice many changes in students. She said her students were always respectful.

“I haven’t been in the classroom for a long time so I don’t what it’s like today,” she said. “There have probably been more changes since I’ve been there.”

During her years in the classroom Neptune said one her favorite works to teach to her students was “Beowulf.”

As a teacher she was president of the Wood County Association of Retired School Employees and corresponding secretary of the West Virginia Association of Retired School Employees.

Neptune was also the unofficial historian of First Baptist Church, on Market Street in downtown Parkersburg, where she has attended church all her life.

“It was unofficial,” she said. “I don’t think we ever had an official historian.”

Neptune said she is the third generation of her family to attend the church. Her parents and three of her four grandparents were members there.

“My grandmother on my mother’s side and my father’s parents went to church here,” she said of the church.

In her lifetime, Neptune has been active in a number of organizations, including president of the American Baptist Women of First Baptist Church, moderator of the church in 1978, 1979 and 1991 and caretaker of the membership book of the church.

As president of the American Baptist Church, she started the Parent’s Day Out program in conjunction with the merchants association. A year later the program was involved with the Family Development Head Start program.

Neptune was the oldest of three children. Her sister, Frances Lemaster, is 98 and lives in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and a brother, Amos Neptune, of Wooster, Ohio, is 91.

“My sister will be 99 this year,” she said. “She is exactly 13 months and 13 days younger.”

About 100 people attended Saturday’s celebration of Neptune’s 100 years that included 19 family members. While Neptune knew of the celebration ahead of time, there was one surprise.

“I was surprised so many people came,” she said.

A niece, Sue Fry, of Rancho Mirage, said her aunt is a caring person.

“She was always kind and she was always considerate,” she said. “She used to take me for walks and my brother and I would stay with her for a week or two.”