Wellsburg man served his area

WELLSBURG – Brooke County residents who served on any of the various boards that Paul Lish did or worked beside him as volunteers remember his desire to help in whatever way he could and his infectious smile.

Lish – who died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Monday – was co-chairman of the Brooke County Fair Board and a member of the Brooke Hills Park board, Brooke County Economic Development Authority and Brooke County Pioneer Trail Association, among other groups.

He was 64.

“He did quite a few things at the park. He was almost a daily fixture here. We will really miss him,” said Janice McFadden, manager of Brooke Hills Park.

She said Lish was among park board members willing to get physically involved with the park as well as in the planning aspects of it, and as a member of the park board’s maintenance, mud bog and campground committees, would assist with maintenance of the golf course, set up for the mud bogs and other efforts.

McFadden added, “He faithfully came to all of the meetings. It’s a sad week.”

Norm Schwertfeger, a Brooke County West Virginia University Extension Service agent who coordinated efforts to renovate the former toll house at the park, said Lish’s involvement with the project was invaluable.

A former employee of Murphy Construction, Lish would meet with architects and contractors whenever Schwertfeger was unable to and report to him on the project’s progress.

Schwertfeger noted Lish and his wife, Patty, worked as a team in co-chairing the Brooke County Fair for the last several years and it wasn’t the only endeavor in which the two worked together.

He added Paul was a dedicated family man, and he and Patty often recruited their grown children and other family members to assist them.

In an interview before one of the Brooke County Fairs, Paul commented that he and Patty always tried to add something new each year to keep the event fresh. The result was the inclusion of attractions, ranging from square dancing tractors to a family lumberjack show, that fairgoers didn’t find everywhere.

Ruby Greathouse, president of the Brooke County Pioneer Trail Association, said often the group would hear about a problem along the trail, such as a clogged storm drain, then find later that Lish had fixed it without telling anyone.

“He didn’t make a big deal of it. He wanted to help but he always tried to stay in the background,” she said.

Some who knew Lish said he had experienced heart problems from a young age but didn’t let it interfere with his community service.

Schwertfeger said Lish befriended many people from throughout the county, particularly through his involvement with the county’s economic development authority.

Some said they are saddened that Lish was just getting involved in other avenues when he died.

Greathouse said not long ago Lish offered his assistance to the Brooke County Museum and Cultural Center.

McFadden said in recent months the Brooke County Commission appointed Lish to the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau board because of his involvement with the park and county fair.

The Brooke County Commission took time at this week’s meeting to remember Lish.

Commission President Tim Ennis said of Lish, who was a member of Independence United Methodist Church, “He had faith in God, love for his family and a desire to help his community.”

“It’s sad to lose somebody like Paul. He’s definitely going to be missed,” Schwertfeger said.

Funeral arrangements for Lish are being handled by Mullenbach Funeral Home, where visitation will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and a service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com)