Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

Is he the oldest person in West Virginia???

You will find an article on the front page of this edition telling more about the life of Ralph Kenneth Gosnell. Recently we ran a story detailing how he was the oldest-known graduate of Gassaway High School. Shirley Shuman told me she enjoyed her interview with Gosnell. She added that her telephone conversation lasted more than an hour and that they just scratched the surface of his interesting life.

When we published the first article, I wondered if Mr. Gosnell might be the oldest person in West Virginia. Since then, I have done some research and while I found no real evidence to confirm that he is the oldest resident of our state, I also found nothing to contradict the theory either. I spent the majority of my time researching the matter googling most anything I could come up with pertaining to who might be older. I found nothing to indicate that anyone currently living in West Virginia is over the age of 105. I even asked Siri, the knower of everything. She didn’t tell me anything that my research hadn’t already uncovered. So, for now the mystery will have to remain unsolved.

However, I did uncover some interesting facts along the way. Here is a little more on the modest GHS Alumni… Now 105, Ken Gosnell worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 35 years, including experience as an underground corrosion engineer for Union Carbide and as an oil and gas engineer for Godfrey L. Cabot Corporation, Continental Oil and Ashland Exploration. It’s already been mentioned that he is also an alumni of West Virginia University. I found out that on his 95th birthday he established the Kenneth and Helen Gosnell Endowed Scholarship in memory of his wife. Plus, his daughter Devon, who accompanied him to the Gassaway HS Alumni Banquet, announced in late 2022 that she planned to gift the university an additional $1 million. West Virginia University students pursuing degrees in political science, law and petroleum and natural gas engineering will benefit from the scholarships for years to come.

It would be very interesting to know if Ken Gosnell is currently the oldest resident of our state. It would be another feather in his well-defined hat. If any of our readers are a better detective than I am… let me know.