Katherine Lutz Coppock, great great granddaughter of James McNeil Stephenson, has joined her brother John Lutz in helping to preserve and maintain their ancestral home. This week she met with members of the WVU at Parkersburg Foundation Board of Directors to announce her gift establishing the Oakland Fund.
In December John and his wife Pamela Lutz gave the Foundation the deed to Oakland and the home built by John’s great great grandfather in 1832. The WVU at Parkersburg Foundation will preserve and maintain the home to be used by the college to enhance academic programs, create an alumni center and be a focal point for college functions.
“I love this place and spent much of my early life with my wonderful great-aunts Missada, Mary and Eleanor and great-uncles Ed and Gale. I always stayed with Betty at Oakland when I came home to visit,” said Coppock. Betty Lutz, sister of John and Katherine, who lived in the Stephenson home passed away in March leaving its future uncertain, she said. “We’ve worried about how to preserve it beyond our lifetimes. Now we know that the place and the history of the people who lived here will continue to be a vital part of this community and the State of West Virginia.”
Randy Law, president of the Foundation Board of Directors, said the gift will be a major benefit to the Foundation in its work to preserve the building and prepare it for public use.
“This gift to help us with Oakland is very generous and will be used to ensure that the home and grounds are taken care of,” Law said.
Mrs. Coppock shared her great great grandfather’s will with Foundation Board members. The care and love it shows for his wife, children and future generations set the tone for the entire family, she said. It was written in 1872 by Stephenson, a leading lawyer, businessman and politician, and is considered one of the finest written wills of its time.
For more information or questions please contact Senta Goudy, WVU at Parkersburg Foundation Executive Director, at 304-481-8341.