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Park dedicated in memory of Bettye Prigga

By Staff | Aug 6, 2014

Nancy Prigga, Bettye Prigga’s grandson’s wife, was on hand to represent the family during the dedication ceremony. (Photos by Ed Parsons)

The City of Sistersville and Sistersville General Hospital once again joined forces to honor one of Sistersville’s outstanding citizens-Bettye Prigga.

John May, SGH Chief Executive Officer, opened a ceremony Monday to dedicate a park in Prigga’s name by welcoming all those in attendance. The beautiful garden area in the south east corner of the park, located behind the hospital and along the walking trail, now features a plaque with Prigga’s picture for all who visit the park to see.

May said it was his pleasure to have known and worked with Prigga and it is an honor to be a part of dedicating the park in her name. He thanked all those who helped make it happen.

Following his remarks Rev. Colleen Griffith gave the invocation followed by some of her own experiences and memories of Prigga. Several others also shared some fascinating stories about the former nurse.

Dr. Thomas Gilligan, Karen Ross, Kay Weltz, and Delegate Roger Romine all had nothing but praise and kind words in memory of her. They all gave her high praise for her work as an educator and volunteer, along with her willingness to help others.

Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice reads a proclamation naming Aug. 4 as Bettye Prigga Day.

Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice read a proclamation from the City of Sistersville, proclaiming Aug. 4 to be dedicated by the city as Bettye Prigga Day. Rice said if there was anything going on, Prigga was involved-from community affairs to her church she was always willing to help. He jokingly said the only thing he wished she would have done was to call him Bill instead of Rice. “She would see me and say, ‘Rice, we have to talk.'”

Nancy Prigga, Bettye’s grandson’s wife, was in attendance at the ceremony and spoke dearly about Bettye’s kindness and love for others. She said when she first became a part of the family, Bettye gave her the job of preparing the letters she sent out with her Christmas cards. Nancy said she printed out about 150 and was told that’s not nearly enough. Nancy said she still looks forward to getting cards in return from people she doesn’t even know. Nearly in tears she said, “Bettye is dearly missed.”

Bettye was a 1940 graduate of Sistersville High School and served as historian of the SHS Alumni Association. She was a 1944 graduate of the Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing and was a Registered Nurse and a Health Occupation Instructor at PRT (MOVTI).

Bettye was the first woman to be elected in the State of West Virginia to a city council seat.

She was a member of the Presbyterian Women’s Association, a member of the Martha Washington Chapter #22 Order of the Eastern Star of Sistersville, the Rhododendron Twig, volunteer at Sistersville General Hospital, and she assisted with the billing and fund raising for the Sistersville EMS Squad.

This plaque was installed at the Sistersville Riverwalk near Sistersville General Hospital Monday morning, dedicating the park to Bettye Prigga.

She was co-owner of Hickman’s Grocery and Pleasants County Teacher of the Year in 1989.

She was a rather recent recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Citizenship Award. In closing the ceremony, Rev. Griffith gave the benediction. Refreshments were served and a time of sharing memories of Bettye was held.