Mary "Dusty" Spelsberg
Mary Caroline “Dusty” Spelsberg, born in 1923, passed from this world on Saturday, February 3, surrounded by children and loved ones at the home of Sherry Sellers in Jane Lew, West Virginia. Her husband William “Bill” Spelsberg, and son, Mark Frederick, preceded her in death. She was born and raised in the Zanesville, Ohio area, the daughter of the late Price Chew and Marie Strohmeier Whitacre.
She is survived by a brother, Frederick Whitacre, of Cleveland, Ohio, and a sister, Josephine Michaelson, of Madison, Ohio. Her surviving children include: William Eric and Julia Spelsberg, of Weston; Christina Parsons, of North Carolina; Melissa nd Art Loder, of Mount Clare, WV; John Spelsberg, of Clarksburg; and Matthew and Beth Spelsberg, of Muscat, Oman. Dusty’s grandchildren include: Van and Johnathan Spelsberg of Clarksburg; Brooke Parsons of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Meredith Parsons of Bangkok, Thailand; Sierra Parsons of Asheville, NC; Hallel Parsons of Rindge, New Hampshire; Graceson Parsons (Tori) of Columbus, Ohio; Fletcher Loder (Lori Gill) of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania; Thomas Loder of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Samuel Spelsberg of Charlottesville, Virginia and Lucas Spelsberg of Muscat, Oman. She is also survived by three great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and her close friend and third cousin by marriage, Marguerite Spelsberg Hickman.
Dusty graduated from Zanesville High School. She graduated from the Ohio State University with a degree in radio broadcasting. She met and fell in love with Clarksburg native, William E. Spelsberg, fresh back from some of the worst fighting of WWII and attending school at OSU on the GI Bill. Showing her his badges, combat medals, Purple Heart and Bronze Star didn't hurt their relationship any. They wed just after Bill graduated and took up residence in a home at Lake Floyd in Bristol, WV. They later lived in Nixon Plaza before finally moving into their family long time home on S. Oak Street in Clarksburg.
She was a trailblazer as one of the first women to host a radio show and was hostess of her own show “The Mary Morning Show” for decades on Clarksburg radio station WHAR 1340 AM. She was tremendously gifted at broadcast radio and brought joy and entertainment to many. She brought her rare and unique perspective to her show every weekday morning beginning with, “It’s a beautiful day in the hills of West Virginia” and would always close the show by thanking her fans and then ending with her tag line “Live a little, and LOVE A LOT!”
Dusty was a renowned and award winning artist, specializing in water color but also producing fine works of art in other media. She eventually became the Director of what was then known as the Clarksburg Community Art Center. During her tenure at their facility on Joyce Street they hosted numerous art shows each year, an artist in residence program, summer children’s programs and regular community concerts and stage plays for the citizens of Clarksburg to enjoy.
In the late 1970’s, Dusty decided to begin a career in the real estate industry, in addition to maintaining her radio persona and continuing to manage and direct the Art Center. She soon became well known in the regional real estate industry, working tirelessly as a sales agent and eventually becoming a broker for several area agencies. Through tremendous dedication and sheer determination, she succeeded in an era when men dominated the industry, all while pursuing many other interests and both personal and professional obligations.
Dusty was widely recognized for her fearless commitment to hard work. In the early 1980’s she would get up before dawn with her youngest son to deliver the Exponent Telegram, because she wanted the exercise and to lead by example. She would walk a few miles from her home, proudly delivering the newspaper, before most of her colleagues and counterparts ever thought of getting out of bed.
One of the most remarkable things to note regarding Dusty and her record of accomplishment is that she did it all while rearing six children and giving each of them the gift of a sense of wonder with the world, higher education, and the opportunity to live and love as she had, and more. It is safe to say that she never knew a stranger and never had a negative comment about anyone. In the 1960’s and 70’s she would take in the drifters who would walk down from the railroad tracks behind the old Sears warehouse to her home at South Oak Street and set them up with a home cooked meal on a TV tray in the back yard. She grew up as a child of the Depression and she knew what it was to be hungry. She would never have turned those many away, no matter what the neighbors might think.
She loved her family, first and foremost, and was willing to work harder than most anyone and sacrifice most anything to keep her family together and well provided for. She and her husband and partner Bill Spelsberg shared the motto “Whatever it Takes” when it came to their children. Dusty was also an adventurer, taking time to travel all around the world during her life and enjoying the mountains of West Virginia and the beaches of the Carolinas every year without fail. She spent time with her son on the west coast and in Canada, and visited a variety of destinations such as Thailand, Scotland, Italy and so much more. She loved experiencing the different cultures and meeting the people, and marveled at just how much people and families worldwide are exactly like us in their hopes and dreams.
She was a member of Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church her entire adult life and was devout and sincere in her abiding faith in God and Jesus Christ. The last thing she would say to her children every night was “say your prayers” the prayers that she and Bill had taught them. She and her family by marriage were founding members of St. Mark’s from the earliest days on Meigs Avenue and remain engaged to today.
Dusty was also a President of the Board of Realtors, League for Service and member and many women’s groups, bridge clubs, civic organizations and charities over her seventy plus years of life in Clarksburg, and enjoyed very deeply the camaraderie and sense of community spirit that the members shared.
Family and friends will be received at the Davis-Weaver Funeral Home 329 E. Main Street Clarksburg, WV on Friday, February 9, 2018 from 10:00am until the time of the service at 12 Noon with Pastor Linda Muhly presiding. Interment will follow in the Bridgeport Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Clarksburg Mission or the Harrison County Humane Society. Online condolences, www.davisweaverfuneralhome.com The Davis-Weaver Funeral Home is honored to serve the Spelsberg Family at this time.