CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — Glenna Peyton Scaggs Swim, 96 years and 1 day old, went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Sunday, March 31, 2013, at Logan Regional Medical Center following an 11-month illness, surrounded by her family. She was a successful businesswoman who lived in the Chapmanville area her entire life.
Glenna was born March 30, 1917, a daughter of the late Calvary and Caroline “Carrie” Wheatley Peyton, at Rock Lick of Garrett’s Fork, Chapmanville. She completed the ninth grade of high school and at the time she became ill she had been working on her GED. At the age of 15, she married her first husband, the late Okey Scaggs in 1932. In 1933 her first child, Madalyn, was born and in 1936 her second daughter, Evelyn, was born. Exactly 10 months after the birth of her second daughter her husband was killed on December 3, 1936. Left penniless with two daughters she was invited to live with her in-laws with whom she would make her home for the next 12 years. Glenna liked to say during this time she grew up with her daughters.
A widow at the age of 19, Glenna went to work washing and ironing clothes, babysitting, cleaning houses, sewing, and working in gardens to support her daughters. In the mid 1940s, she went to work as a clerk for Peter M. Ferrell Grocery at Godby Branch. In 1949, Glenna married her second husband Raymond Swim. They were married for 25 years until his death in 1974.
In the late 1950s, Glenna went formed a partnership with James “Jim” Ferrell and $1,000 she had saved over the years. They opened J&G Variety Store which was located at the cross roads at Chapmanville. By the mid 1960s she was able to buy out her partner and open R&G Variety Store, fondly known as “The Dime Store”, in a larger building in Chapmanville. Between the two stores she owned and operated her business for more than 40 years. During this time the store was destroyed three times by floods, yet each time (without any assistance from the government or flood insurance) she would salvage what she could and rebuild her store, making it bigger and better. She was a successful businesswoman, ahead of her time, always in charge, and well respected in the community.
In 1990 she closed R&G Variety Store and went to work for her son-in-law, Neil D. McCloud, at Mountaineer Pharmacy at Chapmanville where she continued to work until the pharmacy closed in 1994. From that time until she became bedfast from breaking her hip Glenna lived to work. She loved every minute of her work and she loved to take care of those in need.
Born, baptized, and a member of the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter Day Saints, until she married her first husband Okey, Glenna always insisted her family receive the Mormon missionaries in their home providing them with food and beverage. Glenna became a devout member of the Assembly of God church after her first marriage, serving faithfully for more than 70 years. During this time she served on the Board of Trustees of the Assembly of God Church of Chapmanville where she worked diligently to provide the needs of the congregation and the pastor. She was also involved at the local and state level. Always in the background, no one ever knew the role she played.
Glenna rarely traveled or went on vacations due to her business; however she was able to visit the Holy Land. While there she was thrilled to be baptized in the Jordan River and walk the streets that Jesus had walked.
She was a member of the American Legion Post 103 Ladies Auxiliary, the Assembly’s of God Ladies Ministry, and the Chapmanville Woman’s Club where, until her death, she was the oldest member.
Clell Peyton, Glenna’s cousin wrote the following tribute “A true American Icon has completed her work here and moved on to a much better place! She experienced a great life in her 96 years from the very worst of times to the very best to include the Great Depression, World War Two, the development of airplanes, polio vaccines, automobiles, radio, television, telephones, computers and many other inventions. She became a teenage widow with two small children to support before Social Security existed. What a woman of strong character and example to all of us. A true American Icon has completed her work here and moved on to a much better place!”
Glenna loved the Lord, her church, and her family, of whom she as extremely proud. She once said “…if you serve the Lord He will bless you and your family for at least three generations…” She leaves this legacy and blessings to not three, but four generations.
Glenna was also preceded in death by two wonderful sons-in-law who she loved as much as if they were her own children, Samuel Justice and Neil D. McCloud; her in-laws, Charlie and Zora Belle Conley Scaggs and John and Lila Swim; three brothers, Hildore Floyd Peyton, Noah Waldo Peyton, and Drury (Ada Mae) Peyton; three sisters, Marie Peyton, Louise (Ray) Peyton Aliff, and Juanita Ruth (Don) Adkins; one granddaughter, Debra Ann (Daje’) Justice, and a special sister-in-law, Madge Swim, who made her home with Glenna for more than 12 years.
In addition to her daughters, Madalyn Justice and Evelyn McCloud, both of Chapmanville, Glenna is survived by one brother, Charles Edward (Burgess) Peyton; six grandchildren, Lajeana Justice (Ralph) Kessler, Pamela L. Alderman, Stephen Brent (Amber) Justice, and Crystal Cher (James) Collins, all of Chapmanville, Scott Samuel (Cheryl) Justice of Decatur, Ala., and Duana Shawn (David) Combs of Lexington, Ky.; 11 great-grandchildren, William Henry (Julie) Alderman II, Whitlea Shae’ Alderman, Devin James and Ava Breann Collins, and Harley David Justice, all of Chapmanville, Leesha Paige (Jimmie) Cassel and Deric Duane Bunch of Lexington, Stephen Brent (Alayne) Justice II of Bolivia, N.C., Ryan (Jessica) Justice of Jacksonville, Fla., Sarah (John) Mize of Hartselle, Ala., and Kyle Samuel Justice of Decatur, Ala.; five great-great grandchildren, Jorja Jenill, Ashtyn Jolie and Jackson Will Alderman, all of Chapmanville, and Emily Katherine and Laura Avery Mize of Hartselle, and several nieces, nephews, cousins, as well as a host of relatives and friends.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Robert Toparis and Dr. Steve Melek for the care they provided to Glenna over the years. They would also like to thank Logan Regional Medical Center, especially the nurses and staff of the fifth floor, who showed such compassion and care during her final days. They would also like to thank Riley Joe, Teresa, and Jordan Evans, their special friends and neighbors, and the staff of Evans Funeral Home who have helped them through this difficult time and taken such special care of their mother and grandmother.
Visitation and a celebration of Glenna’s life will be held Wednesday, April 3, at Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. and service beginning at 2 p.m. Internment will be at Highland Memory Gardens at Godby.
Pallbearers will be grandsons Will Alderman, Deric Bunch, Jimmy Cassel, James Collins, David Combs, Brent Justice, and Stephen Justice.
Honorary pallbearers will be Stanley Justice, Ralph Kessler, Randy Lucas, Glen Peyton, Virgil Scaggs, Watt Tackett, and Gordon Wheatley.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Glenna’s memory to Appalachian Teen Challenge, c/o James M. Nickels, Executive Director, P.O. Box 980, Princeton, WV 24712-0980. Glenna supported this organization, which was started in New York City by David Wilkerson, for more than 50 years.
Evans Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Chapmanville is in charge of arrangements.