Well-known St. C. residents forever honored on Main Street

ABOVE: The newly installed memorial bench with a plaque dedicating it to Pauline and Robert Donaldson is located in front of the From Past to Present Quilt Shop on Main Street.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Friends and family gathered to honor the late Robert “Stumpy” and Pauline Donaldson with the unveiling of a new memorial bench on Main Street in St. Clairsville.

Many people who have lived in the greater St. Clairville area in recent years knew or at least saw Robert, better known as Stumpy, and his light blue pickup truck driving around town.

“Everyone knew Stumpy,” their son Rob Donaldson said at the unveiling.

He mentioned that he was once at a bar in Columbus for his 23rd birthday and the establishment was crowded so he went to the other side, where he met a couple of people from Indiana. While waiting on his drinks from the bar, the Indiana residents asked him where he was from. When he told them it was the St. Clairsville/Wheeling area, they replied that they do bass fishing nearby.

“Do you know a guy named Stumpy?” they asked him.

“I’m in a random bar in Columbus and these two guys from Indiana know my dad,” Rob Donaldson said. “You couldn’t go anywhere without somebody saying, ‘Stumpy, I saw your truck,’ when I used to use his truck. So I couldn’t get away with anything.”

The bench is located in front of From Past to Present Quilt Shop on Main Street, near the Newellstown Diner that Stumpy frequented..

Mayor Kathryn Thalman was also in attendance and spoke of her friendship with Stumpy.

“I first met him when I ran for mayor the first time and, let me tell you, everything about that was stressful. I would come into the diner and he’d say, ‘Hey, Madam Mayor. How are you doing?’ and I’d go, ‘Oh I’m OK.’ And he’d say, ‘No, really, sit down. How are you doing?’ And he genuinely meant it,” Thalman said. “God blessed him with a real and genuine ability to listen and to empathize. And he gave him a gift of happiness and optimism.

“I hope that in my life I have a tenth of the meaning and that I am able to touch a tenth of the people that Stumpy did.”

Pauline and Robert’s daughter Trina Hays closed the gathering by thanking everyone in attendance for being there.

“As most of you know, the diner was my dad’s home away from home. When my mom was watching ‘Days Of Our Lives,’ she’d tell him, ‘Nope. Go up to the diner.’ So we really appreciate this gesture and on behalf of the entire family thank you and on behalf of our parents who would be here to thank you themselves.”

She also thanked the Vaughn family for helping to facilitate the bench and plaque being made to honor both Pauline and Stumpy.

“On behalf of all of us, the children of Stumpy and Pauline, the grandchildren, friends and family from near and far, every one of us are just so thankful,” Hays said.


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