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PARKERSBURG — A writer will encourage residents to memorialize their family stories to preserve their histories in a program from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Friday at the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue.


Edmond Lawrence Suek, a 1957 graduate of Parkersburg High School, will discuss how he wrote his memoirs of his life and family at Willow Grove in Jackson County.

The memoirs resulted in a book, “Willow Grove: A Boy, A Family, A Farm” published in April.

Suek, 84, of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., compared his childhood in Willow Grove to “The Waltons.” Likening himself to John Boy, Suek lived from 1945 to 1955 with his mom, dad, two younger brothers, grandparents and his grandmother’s sister.

“That’s how I grew up,” he said.

Suek wrote of his childhood experiences in a memoir of more than a thousand pages. He was born in Silverton.

His father, Edmond Lawrence Suek Sr., was among a group of 13 hay, cattle and dairy farmers who sold their land to Kaiser Aluminum, which at the time built the world’s largest aluminum plant there. The site was land surveyed by George Washington.

Suek Sr. moved the family to Parkersburg where Suek graduated from PHS in 1957. He left Ravenswood High School with a class of 53 students in his class to a school of more than a 1,000 in his junior and senior class at Parkersburg High.

“It was quite a shock,” he said.

Suek worked at Marbon, which later became Borg-Warner, and graduated with a degree in chemistry from Ohio University.

He worked for the plastics divisions of Uniroyal and Mobil chemical companies in New York City where he often would leave executive offices tired of the rat race, but would think about the times of his childhood in Willow Grove and would feel better.

“I’m thinking ‘What am I doing here,’” he said.

Suek would speak to his mother, the former Katherine Barber, who attended PHS, in lengthy conversations about life in post-war Willow Grove. She encouraged him to use the memoirs for a book.

“I’m a chemist,” he said. “I never dreamed of writing a book.”

The memories and the memoirs are the basis of “Willow Grove,” he said.

The program at the library, where he will be joined by Liz Coursen, an author and publisher from Sarasota, Fla., will be about residents writing their memoirs that can be turned into a book to preserve the history for family and family to come.

“Everybody has a book in them,” Suek said.

“Willow Grove” was published by the Orange Blossom Publishing Co. of Sarasota. It is $25 in paperback.

The 413 pages are illustrated with more than 100 maps, photos and diagrams.

A photo of the pond with Suek and his brother John standing on the dam is in the book. The pond can be seen from W.Va. 2 near the Jackson County Airport, he said.

“The original pond is still there,” Suek said.

The memoirs were so numerous, a second book, “Silverton,” will be released the first of 2024, he said.

Suek’s son, Mark, lives in Parkersburg. Son Steven is a plant manager for Southern States Chemical at Wilmington, S.C.

Jess Mancini can be reached [email protected].