Conrad and Edra McCoy Memorial Scholarship Fund
The Conrad and Edra McCoy Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at the Jackson County Community Foundation. The scholarship was created by the McCoy family as a legacy to the couple’s life. Edra Frances Suck McCoy passed away in May of this year. “She was 98 years old so her death was not a tragic one but it was certainly a sad one, not only for her family but also for the community. My mother, was one of a rare breed—the kind of person who spent her entire life trying to make the world a better place for everyone else,” commented her daughter, Roseanna McCoy Beane.
Conrad Morgan McCoy preceded his wife in death in 1995 at the age of 91. Edra and Conrad McCoy were married 62 years. Conrad taught school for the first 16 years of their marriage but eventually realized he could not support his growing family on a teacher’s salary. In the late 1940s with a couple of cows given to them by their parents, Edra and Conrad bought a farm on the banks of the Ohio River about four miles south of Ravenswood, WV and started what was to become West Virginia’s largest dairy operation. On this farm they created a home and raised eight children: John Paul McCoy, Forris Edmond McCoy, Dorothy McCoy Whitman, James Conrad McCoy, Joe Lee McCoy, William Larry McCoy, Connie McCoy Wright, and Roseanna McCoy Beane. 25 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren were later added to the family. With a strong work ethic, perseverance and determination they operated the dairy farm for over thirty years.
John Paul McCoy, one of the couple’s sons, fondly remembers his parents and their lives. “Running a dairy farm involved everyone in the family with no days off. Life was good and, although the work had to be done before we were allowed any leisure time, there was occasionally time for swimming in the pond or boating on the river. Our home was always the center of activity. Whether it was a family reunion or a boy scout outing, it seemed that it was always the ‘McCoy Farm’ where people wanted to congregate.”
In the 1950’s, something happened that changed their lives. Kaiser Aluminum opened a plant a few miles south of the McCoy’s home. The McCoys learned to farm and co-exist with one of the largest aluminum plants in the world right next door to us. Running a 24 hour dairy operation and trying to provide for a family of ten would leave most people with no energy for anything else; however, in addition to farming, Conrad McCoy was also devoted to community service. He served for a number of years on the Jackson County Board of Education, on various dairy association boards, and was a county commissioner later in life. In addition to his passion for building new schools to accommodate the increased population from the Kaiser influx, he also played a large role in building the Jackson County Farm which still serves our county.
Although Conrad always enjoyed politics and community involvement, home was Edra McCoy’s comfort zone. She loved gardening, canning, cooking, sewing, and nurturing her family and shone at all of these things. Edra took great pleasure in seeing the shelves in the basement filled with the food she had grown and canned over the summer and knowing that it would feed her family and many others throughout the winter. Although she did not fulfill her dream to be a nurse, she excelled at time management and care giving and managed to successfully raise eight children.
“Although they did not have a great deal of formal education, my parents were unbelievably intelligent people. They lived “green” long before it was the trendy thing to do. They lived by the simple rules that you don’t spend money you don’t have and you conserve what you do have. It was these simple rules and common sense that helped them raise and educate a large family with no college loans or other assistance. Education was very important to my parents and they always found a way to come up with the money to support everyone’s needs. My father once stated that he had a child in higher education for 20 straight years. In fact, I started college at WVU the year my youngest sister, Roseanna, was born,” stated John Paul McCoy.
“My parents, Conrad and Edra McCoy, were the kind of people who made this country great and should be remembered for all they did to make our community a special place. This scholarship gives our family and friends a way to honor and remember them. By creating a permanent scholarship fund in their name, they will continue to have an impact on the lives of the young people of our area for a long time to come,” commented their daughter, Connie McCoy Wright.