Mrs. Helen G. Reger

Mrs. Helen G. Reger, 99, of Buckhannon, West Virginia, passed peacefully at her home the morning of January 12, 2021.

Mrs. Reger was born on May 13, 1921 in the community of Hall in Barbour County. She was raised by her mother Opal Ruth Jackson, her stepfather, Claude Jackson, and maternal grandparents Clayton and Nan Hall. In 1944, she married her beloved husband, John S. Reger to whom she was married for more than 54 years until his death in 1999.

She was also preceded in death by her beloved brothers Edward Jackson and Brooks Jackson; and her aunts and uncles Eunice McGee, Dale Hall, Owen Hall and Anighta Newcomb.

Mrs. Reger was the mother of three children; Margaret R. Plummer (Leon), Jamestown, N.C., John S. Reger 11 (Nannette), Buckhannon; Jacob E. Reger (Beverley), Buckhannon. She was a proud grandmother of four grandchildren: Justin Plummer (Sarah) Shaker Heights, Ohio; Elicia Reger, Buckhannon; Jared Plummer Costa Mesa, Calif., and Graham Reger (Nina) Morgantown, W.Va. and of three great-grandchildren: Cora Plummer, Jay Plummer, and Max Reger all of whom survive her.

Also surviving are her extended family Debbie, Lavonne, Irene, Goldie, Juanita, Shirley, Barbara, Edie, and Anita who blessed her with loving care.

She had a great love for her family and they felt blessed to have her in their lives. Mrs. Reger was a schoolteacher earning a Standard Normal from Alderson Broaddus College which qualified her as a public schoolteacher.

She began her teaching career in Barbour County where she taught 1st grade through 8th grade in one-room schools which included Campbell School, Audra School, and Boulder School. Subsequently, Mrs. Reger earned a B.A. in Education from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Mrs. Reger, working with the Upshur County Board of Education and a supportive group of Upshur County parents, started West Virginia’s first public kindergarten in 1958. Mrs. Reger taught 40 five-year-old each day with classes of 20 in the morning and 20 in the afternoon.

Her love of teaching children evolved into many innovative childhood learning experiences through in-house learning (language skills, focused learning, music etc.) as well as field trip experiences that explored the wonders of life and nature (vegetable gardening, sheep-shearing, hatching chickens, riding trains and numerous other experiences).

She was renowned for riding her wooden horse leading the kindergarten calvary around the school yard. She taught kindergarten for 27 years, conducted graduation ceremonies for over 1,000 kindergartners. She was loved by her students because she made them feel special each and every day.

Mrs. Reger worked with the West Virginia Department of Education to help develop a public kindergarten system in the state. Her dream became reality when the West Virginia Department of Education implemented a statewide public kindergarten program.

Acknowledgement of Mrs. Reger’s work in early childhood education led to her being named West Virginia Teacher of the Year in 1976. She was also honored by the Southern Association of Children Under Six for her work in early childhood education.

Helen enjoyed the adventures of life. She enjoyed traveling, not only in the United States, but also abroad. She was proud of the fact that, mainly with her Husband, she had traveled to 49 of our 50 states.

She had a great love of sports, including Mountaineer games, golf and bridge. She attended the Masters Tournament, PGA Tournament and with the help of her friends, the Wallaces, NBA games of the Boston Celtics.

She cherished her friends and the many contributions they made to her life. One of her oldest and dearest friends, Grace Clawson of Jacksonville, Fla., also survives her.

Mrs. Reger was an active member of numerous civil organizations in Upshur County. She was a member of Bethany Baptist Church, Hall, W.Va., and an associate member of First United Methodist Church, Buckhannon. Mrs. Reger loved Buckhannon, Hall, Upshur County, her Country and the many who blessed her life.

Mrs. Reger will have a graveside family service and will be memorialized with a celebration of life at a later date.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Mrs. Reger be made to either Bethany Baptist Church, c/o Frank Karickhoff, 1460 Hall Road, Buckhannon, WV 26201, West Virginia Hospice, 21 E. Main St. Suite 301, Buckhannon, WV or Upshur County Board of Education Comfort Closet, 102 Smithfield St., Attn: Jodi Akers, Buckhannon, WV.

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

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