Marie Dawn Gaston was born November 5, 1971, the daughter of Stanley Gaston and Hester Woofter Gaston. Marie was active in many ways from the time she was a young child. One of her earliest activities was 4-H, where she started at age 8 in the Peora-Wyatt Mountaineers
4-H Club and her mother was club leader. Her grandmother, Alice Woofter, was also a club leader of the Wallace Barracudas Club. Marie was also very active in church and as she grew older became involved in many extra curricular activities at school and was an honor student.
Marie attended Lincoln High School in Shinnston, WV. She was involved in many activities there such as Key Club, International Club, was involved on many class committees and served as the 1990 Senior Class President and Graduated in the top 10% of her class. Marie was nominated to and attended the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation Program (HOBY). She also remained active in 4-H at the club, county and state level. Marie looked forward to attending various camps and served as a teen leader as well to mentor younger 4-Hers. Marie went on exchanges to Wisconsin and Indiana as a teen in 4-H and hosted a 4-Her from each of those states. Marie attained her charting pin and after turning 18, achieved the highest honor in 4-H by being named to the 4-H All Stars. She was a member of the Delaware tribe and was Sagamore (second in command) of her tribe at Alpha 1 State 4-H camp in 1991 and would have been chief in 1992. Marie lived her life by what 4-H stands for. To quote the 4-H pledge: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.” Marie most definitely was thoughtful, loyal, serving and loved living and loved helping others live better.
After graduating from Lincoln, Marie went on to the prestigious West Virginia Wesleyan College and had received many scholarships to help her attain her education. Marie was majoring in English and Speech and of course was very involved with activities while attending WVWC. During the “J- Term” on January 10, 1992 at the young age of 20, Marie and a college friend Allison were killed in a tragic car accident. A scholarship at WVWC was established in her name at that time. She left behind her father Stanley and step mother Marlene as well as younger brother Jeremiah, step sister Kelly, her Grandma Woofter, as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who adored her and loved her so. She was preceded in death by her mom in April 1991 who had fought ovarian cancer for 4 years.
As a way to remember her and all the good that she did in her few short years on this earth her family decided to start a scholarship fund in her name in order to help worthy 4-Hers be more financially able to attend Harrison County 4-H camp. Marie was an avid lover of poetry and one of her favorites was “Success” usually credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson although much evidence shows this is a common misconception, and the original author was Bessie Stanley.
Here it is:
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
This poem is on the back of Marie’s headstone. She would be so proud to know that her accomplishments and memory are helping others to “breathe easier”. Her life was truly a success.
Thank you to all who have participated and thank you in advance for your continued support and prayers as we hope to grow this annual Turkey Trot and help even more children than we or Marie would have ever dreamed possible.
To learn more about our partnership with the WVU Foundation clickhere