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Welty Home and Good Shepherd Celebrate Decades of Caring for the Community

Photos Provided Good Shepherd Administrator Donald Kirsch, right, enjoys time with resident Jack Robson.

WHEELING — Since 1950, thousands of local men and women have lived in comfort and security thanks to the generosity of Wheeling philanthropist Clara Welty. She started a trust to provide care for elderly people that has resulted in the creation of hundreds of apartments for seniors, an outstanding assisted living program and a nationally recognized nursing home, all in Wheeling.

This year two of the properties funded by Miss Welty’s generosity are celebrating major anniversaries. Welty Home, the area’s premiere assisted living property, observes its 70th anniversary, and Good Shepherd, the community’s only five-star nursing home, marks its 50th anniversary. Both were created and continue to operate thanks to careful stewardship of Miss Welty’s donation by the non-profit Welty Corporation.

Miss Welty was the last surviving member of the Peter and Rose Schauber Welty family, which had operated a successful wholesale and retail liquor business at 1121 Market St. in Wheeling. She and her sister Bertha cared deeply about the poor, and throughout their lifetime generously supported the efforts of local Catholic churches. During the depression they also provided direct assistance to many families in South Wheeling.

Her kindness was so great that it came to be recognized by the Vatican; in 1949, Pope Pius XII bestowed the Papal Medal on Miss Welty.

The First Welty Home

In 1950, Clara Welty donated what the newspapers then described as her “palatial” riverfront family home to the Diocese of Wheeling for use as a home for aging women. The gift enabled the Diocese to create a nonprofit corporation, “Welty Home for the Aged, Inc.,” to provide care and housing for elderly people. Miss Welty eventually bequeathed the bulk of her estate to the nonprofit Welty Corporation to continue to support care for senior citizens.

Within just a few years of the opening of the first Welty Home, the state revealed its plans to acquire and demolish the home and a number of others on Main Street to make way for construction of the on ramps for the Fort Henry Bridge. As a result, Welty Home moved to property the Diocese owned at the corner of Washington Avenue, which today is the beautiful Welty Home courtyard.

The assisted living program experienced such demand that in 1968 the Welty Trust built a more spacious assisted living home at the far end of the property, on the banks of Wheeling Creek.

The distinctive round mid-century modern building became an important community resource, but it was soon clear that some people required a higher level of care than assisted living.

As a result, in 1970 the Welty Trust introduced Good Shepherd Nursing Home. Located within a mile of Welty Home, Good Shepherd was opened in a large building at 159 Edgington Lane that had initially been an orphanage and later a residential school for girls.

Generations of Service From The Sisters Of

Our Lady of Charity

Both the school and the orphanage had been operated by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity. When Good Shepherd Nursing Home opened in 1970, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity were actively involved in administration, nursing, housekeeping and assisting with the spiritual needs of the 10 residents.

The ongoing presence of the Sisters has given continuity to the high standards of care that have distinguished Good Shepherd. The staff and the number of residents have grown significantly since then, but the Sisters continue their service to God and the residents of Good Shepherd.

Today three sisters live on the Good Shepherd campus and continue their service, most often by assisting at Holy Mass. Good Shepherd Chaplain Paul Cabrita, S.M., who lives on the Good Shepherd campus, celebrates Mass daily in the nursing home’s beautiful chapel. The sisters faithfully visit many Good Shepherd residents, especially those with no family.

Options for Every Step

Of the journey

From independent living to long-term nursing care, Welty offers a continuum of care for residents. The Welty Apartments offer 94 one- or two-bedroom apartments in two buildings, the Clara Welty Apartments, and the Bertha Welty Apartments.

The 15 Braddock Apartments are lovely, comfortable apartments physically connected to Good Shepherd Nursing Home, designed for people with a spouse or other close family member living at Good Shepherd.

Welty TownHomes are the newest Welty properties. Located in the same leafy neighborhood as the Welty Apartments, the 12 spacious Welty TownHomes are the perfect solution for people over 65 who want to downsize and simplify their lives by living on one floor with no steps without sacrificing beauty and comfort.

Welty Home provides comprehensive assisted living services including physical therapy and 24-hour nurses for people who need a little help managing their medications or personal care. The area’s preferred assisted living program houses 52 residents, each of whom has a private room and bath. Extensive remodeling over the past few years has made Welty Home a comfortable and beautiful retirement option,

And Good Shepherd offers 54 private rooms and 69 semi-private rooms for residents that prefer to have a roommate. The nursing home provides outstanding long-term care and skilled care, along with an inhouse rehabilitation program that offers physical, occupational and speech therapy to help residents live their best lives.

Miss Welty’s bequest has generated significant, ongoing benefits to the local area. In addition to providing homes for thousands of local folks over the past 70 years, the Welty legacy has stimulated substantial economic benefits. Welty Home and Good Shepherd employ 363 people, and the annual budget for the two is $25,131,639.52. Whenever possible, Good Shepherd Administrator Donald R. Kirsch said, the organization buys food, appliances, equipment, furniture and services locally.

A Legacy of Generosity

Every Welty property has been honored by area residents who voted them “Best of the Valley.” In addition, Good Shepherd has consistently received perfect five-star ratings from the federal government for the care it provides to its residents. For 70 years Welty Home has provided outstanding care to people who need a little help to live safely and comfortably. For 50 years Good Shepherd has provided compassionate care to people who need long-term or skilled nursing care. And for decades the community has benefited from the addition of the comfortable, affordable senior homes that Welty Apartments provide.

All of this was made possible by the kindness of Clara Welty. An editorial about Miss Welty in the West Virginia Register, a publication of the West Virginia legislature, praised her generosity. “Miss Welty led a quiet Christian life, illuminated by her many benefactions to religious and charitable institutions” the editorial read. “Some of these are public knowledge but most are known only to God and to those whom she aided.”

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