Wheeling Native Receives Surprise

Have you ever seen anyone be truly surprised?

Well, I can now say that I have. Last weekend, Wheeling native Jane Hoffman was definitely, unequivocably, truly surprised when family and friends gave her a surprise party for her 75th birthday. The fun and festivities were the work of her husband, Tom Huston; her children and family members throughout the country and close friends in Wheeling. It took several months, with secret correspondence and conversations, for the clever bunch to pull off the surprise.

At the surreptitious suggestion of Tom, the Rev. Richard L. Skaggs, their good friend, invited the couple to travel from their home in Harmony, Pa., to have dinner at his Wheeling home Saturday, Oct. 22. That dinner invitation, however, was a complete ruse – with Richard, instead, steering Jane and Tom to the actual party site under a pretext.

When the birthday honoree walked into the room filled with loved ones, the look on her face was one of total surprise, happy shock and complete amazement. As she looked around the room, Jane uttered an exclamation of joy as she spotted each unexpected person, one after another. “I’ve never been this surprised in my life,” Jane commented, over and over, as she greeted and thanked the guests.

Jane, an educator, artist, marathon runner and cancer survivor, was surrounded by family members (children, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws) and friends at the gathering. Among those joining the celebration were several of her colleagues from the former Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy. During an informal program, guests spoke fondly of Jane, sharing memories and expressing admiration for her accomplishments, determination and character.

Guests dined on DiCarlo’s pizza, salads and birthday cake. The cake was adorned with messages on tiny flags, each marking an event or milestone from every year of her life. Guests also signed a giant card and admired displays of photos.

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The new season of the Broadway at the Capitol series got off to a “loverly” start with a performance of “My Fair Lady” at the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling Monday evening, Oct. 24.

A large audience was on hand for the touring production and responded enthusiastically to the talented cast’s excellent performance.

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Congratulations are extended to the members of the Wheeling Heritage Roundtable who organized the first History Expom which was held at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling Saturday, Oct. 22. Sean Duffy, the library’s adult programming coordinator and one of the planners of the expo, said that more than 200 people attended the whole event throughout the day.

Congratulations also go out to Margaret Brennan, outgoing president of the Wheeling Area Historical Society, who was presented with a lifetime achievement award given by the event organizers.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net