Augustine June Schaefers

Augustine June Schaefers of St. Marys, WV, passed away peacefully at the age of 99 on Saturday, April 29, 2023.

The daughter of Cecil Ralph and Zada Tallman Miller, she was born November 24, 1923, in Phillipi, WV.

The daughter of a coal miner and sawmill owner, she attended Snell School, a little one-room school in Upshur County, before moving to Randolph County where she graduated from Coalton High School May 22, 1941. At age 20, she married Norman Butcher Wamsley of Dailey, West Virginia. They would have four daughters together: Judy, Ellen, Sally, and Eve.

Following her graduation from Davis & Elkins College in 1956, she began her career as a teacher. She first taught at Pickens High School before accepting a job at Beverly High School in Beverly, WV. About this time in her life, she wrote, “Again, my students were delightful.  I needed them more than they needed me, and I am so proud of what they have accomplished.  I moved to Beverly with my children and taught there six years, becoming a part of that neighborhood and also joined the Daughters of the American Revolution.  There has never been a place where my daughters were freer and happier than in Beverly School, Beverly Church, and at home in Beverly.”

After six years in Beverly, WV, she accepted a job in Ohio at Newton Falls High School, where she was able to earn a better wage to provide for her daughters. She taught for two years in Newton Falls, then resigned after marrying her second husband, Bernard Schaefers, whom she met while taking dance classes. They were happily married for 23 years, when tragedy struck, and he was killed in a work accident.

Of the period after this, she wrote, “Although I continued living in our home seven more years, I didn’t feel at home in Ohio and longed to return to West Virginia.  My uncle invited me to store my furniture at my grandfather Miller’s home where he lived while I built a new home near Buckhannon.  I sold my home in Niles, Ohio, and used the money to build my new little log home right across the road from where I grew up as a child.”

In 2018, she moved from her small log home in Upshur County to the Heritage assisted living community in St. Marys, WV, where she would spend the rest of her life close to her daughter Eve and family. She was a lifelong learner, and became a skilled seamstress, tailor, upholsterer, gardener, and artist. She wrote a children’s book about her pet geese, Don and Dory, for which she did all the illustrations. She learned to paint in an attempt to keep her lost loved ones close to her, and it helped.

She was a hard-working and independent person, who enjoyed the outdoors and exercised daily. She loved the early morning and would often wake before the sunrise.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Bernard Schaefers; her first husband Norman Wamsley; a daughter, Judy Hart Wamsley Gargano; stepson, Matthew Schaefers; infant granddaughter Ann Sholes; son-in-law, Robert Lee Payne; two brothers, Charles Wayne and Carl Vane Miller; and sister-in-law, Margaret Ann Miller.

She is survived by three daughters, Ellen Wamsley Payne of Mountain Home, AR, Sally Wamsley Burkholder and husband William of Charlotte, NC and Eve Wamsley Light and husband James C. of St. Marys, WV; stepson Bernard Stephen Schaefers of California; sister Helen Lucille Louk of Nevada; ten grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

She was a Christian by faith and attended the Tallmansville Baptist Church prior to moving to St. Marys, where she attended the St. Marys Church of the Nazarene.

Honoring her wishes, she will be cremated.

Online condolences may be made to the family at Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

A celebration of life for Augustine June Schaefers will be held at the St. Marys Church of the Nazarene on Saturday, June 17 at 2 pm.

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