West Virginia Department of Commerce Famous West Virginians

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Famous West Virginians

 West Virginia Facts

A sampling of some of the many famous West Virginians:

Hal Greer - Member of the basketball hall of fame, was raised in Huntington, Cabell County.

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - Born in Clarksburg, Harrison County. The Confederate General’s boyhood home became the first state 4-H Club Camp in the United States.

Anna Jarvis - The founder of Mother's Day, which was first officially celebrated at a Methodist church in Grafton and became a national holiday in 1914. She was born in Webster, near Grafton.

Kathy Mattea - World renowned country music artist was born and raised in Cross Lanes, Kanawha County.

Marian McQuade - The founder of Grandparents' Day, which was first celebrated in West Virginia in 1973. It became a nationally designated day in 1979. She was born in Caperton and lives in Oak Hill.

John Forbes Nash Jr. - 1994 Nobel Prize winning mathematician who was the subject of the 1998 biography and 2002 film "A Beautiful Mind." Born and raised in Bluefield, Mercer County

John C. Norman, MD - distinguished surgeon and pioneer in organ transplant techniques, was born in Charleston, Kanawha County.

Brad Paisley - Country music star and actor, born in Glen Dale.

Mary Lou Retton - 1984 Olympic Gold Medal winner in gymnastics is from Fairmont, Marion County.

Walter P. Reuther - Former president of the United Auto Workers (AFL-CIO), was born in Wheeling, Ohio County.

Sam Snead - (deceased) world famous golfer, resided in White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County.

Alex Schoenbaum - (deceased) Founder of the Shoney's Restaurant chain, one of the largest businesses to originate in West Virginia

Samuel W. Starks - Local and national leader of Knights of Pythias fraternal order was raised in Charleston, Kanawha County.

Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan - A native of West Virginia, was a preacher, social activist and educator who founded the Sullivan Principles of Equal Opportunity, which became a blueprint for ending apartheid and an international standard for human rights.

Cyrus R. Vance - Secretary of State from 1977 to 1980 during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, was born in Clarksburg.

Booker T. Washington - Black educational leader and the first president of Tuskegee Institute, raised in Malden, Kanawha County.

Jerry West - Former professional basketball star of the Los Angeles Lakers, was born in Chelyn, Kanawha County.

Carter G. Woodson - Educator, author and the father of Black History Month, was raised in Huntington, Cabell County.

Brigadier General Charles Yeager, U.S.A.F. Retired - First person to fly faster than the speed of sound, was born in Myra, Lincoln County.

Other Links:

For a more extensive list of famous West Virginian's visit Jeff Miller's Famous West Virginians.