Former Wheeling Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge Dies at 75

Councilwoman remembered as strong leader

File Photo Former Wheeling City Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge died at age 75 on Monday. She served the city’s 1st Ward, including her home community of Warwood, from 2004-2016.

WHEELING –Whether it called for speaking out against a natural gas frack water plant that hoped to open in Warwood or addressing the debate on how many police officers should ride in a cruiser, Gloria Delbrugge served as a strong voice on Wheeling City Council from 2004-16.

At the age of 75, Delbrugge died Monday at home.

“I really enjoyed working with Gloria. We didn’t always agree, but she was a wonderful city councilperson,” City Manager Robert Herron said. “I feel very badly for her family at this difficult time.”

Voters elected Delbrugge to represent the city’s 1st Ward, consisting primarily of Warwood and North Wheeling, in 2004. She then ran successfully for re-election in 2008 and 2012 before retiring in 2016.

Vice Mayor Chad Thalman replaced Delbrugge as the 1st Ward representative upon his election last year.

“I got to know Gloria pretty well when we were running for office,” Thalman said. “She was very supportive, and you could tell how much it meant to her and how seriously she took the job.”

“I considered her a friend, and I’m very sorry she has passed,” he added.

Relatively early in her tenure, Delbrugge and Herron found themselves on opposite sides of the debate regarding how many police officers should ride in a cruiser. Delbrugge, the wife of retired Wheeling officer Robert Delbrugge, fiercely opposed efforts to eliminate the two-officer mandate, while Herron favored giving the sitting police chief the authority to deploy personnel as he saw fit.

City voters ultimately overturned the two-officer ordinance in 2012, by which time Delbrugge had somewhat mellowed on the topic.

“That whole issue eventually worked itself out,” Herron said.

Delbrugge also served as a member of the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority board for several years, a body Herron continues to chair.

“She brought a very thoughtful voice to the OVRTA board,” Herron added. “Gloria served the citizens of Wheeling very, very well for 12 years.”

In 2013, the company known then as GreenHunter Water unveiled plans on its website that called for building a natural gas frack water recycling plant along the Ohio River at the north end of Warwood. The concept called for trucks to bring the briny wastewater to Warwood via truck before placing it onto river barges for southward transport.

Delbrugge fiercely opposed this plan, citing the project’s proximity to the Wheeling Heritage Trail, the river, the city’s Water Treatment Plant and Warwood Elementary School.

“She will certainly be missed by the community of Warwood,” said Tom Dailer, who is now past-president of the Warwood Lions Club. “As a member of our club, she spearheaded our efforts to get the bandstand at Garden Park. It probably would never have happened without her.”