Longtime Publisher G. Ogden Nutting dies at 87

Dec 1, 2023

R to L: Ogden Nutting and his wife, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting

WHEELING, West Virginia — G. Ogden Nutting, a prominent community and business leader who for more than a half-century served as publisher and general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, died Aug. 25, 2023, at age 87.

Over seven decades in Wheeling, Nutting received numerous community awards and honors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame in the Business, Industry and Professions category, joining his grandfather, H.C. Ogden, who was inducted in 1982 in the same category.

Nutting’s wife, Betty Woods “Snookie” Nutting, joined him in the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 2017 for Public Service, making them the first married couple in the Hall of Fame as individual honorees and for different areas of contributions to the city.

He served for more than 40 years on the Wheeling Park Commission and as a member of the Oglebay Foundation. Nutting was an advocate for and strong supporter of the Community Chest/United Way his entire career.

The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley named him as the recipient of its “Building a Better Community” award in 2018, and the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce honored him in 2019.

“Every place and person in Wheeling have been touched by Ogden Nutting — whether they realize it or not,” said G. Randolph Worls, longtime executive at Oglebay Park and the Oglebay Foundation. “His lifetime of service to Oglebay and the Ohio Valley is unparalleled. The community has lost a true pillar who always put others first.

“Ogden also was one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. He was able to get to the core of the issue very quickly,” Worls continued.

Nutting also served on multiple other boards locally, including The Salvation Army, the former Ohio Valley Industrial and Business Development Corp., Stone and Thomas, the Stone Foundation, Wheeling Hospital and the Wheeling Symphony. Nutting served as a bank director for 50 years and as chairman of the board of the Half Dollar Trust and Savings Bank. He also was a life member of the Wheeling Elks, BPOE No. 28 and was a member of the Rotary Club of Wheeling for decades.

He believed strongly in giving back to the community, with his philanthropic efforts ranging from working with major organizations to specific projects such as the Nutting Art Gallery at West Liberty University, the Nutting Winter Sports Complex at Oglebay Park and Nutting Hall at Blaney House, the president’s residence at West Virginia University.

His work was recognized in 2005 by West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise who presented him the Distinguished West Virginian Award. West Virginia University honored him in 2002 with the Order of Vandalia, its highest honor, for his service to the state.

“Ogden was a true gentleman, a man of the highest character and integrity,” said U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. “I was so honored to have him as a lifelong friend.”

For more than 60 years, Nutting worked at his private and family-owned Ogden Newspapers Inc., serving in various capacities including publisher, general manager and president. The Wheeling Evening News, founded by Nutting’s maternal grandfather H.C. Ogden on Sept. 22, 1890, formed the basis of the company that became the Ogden Newspapers Inc.

Don Smith, president of the West Virginia Press Association, called Nutting the “last of the great publishers in the history of newspapers in West Virginia.”

Nutting has received numerous state and national newspaper and journalism awards, including in 2010 when the West Virginia Press Association honored him with its highest honor, the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist award.

He was deeply involved in education, both public and private. He served for 45 years as a member of the Board of Trustees at Bethany College, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 2001 and was chosen for Bethany’s Communication and Media Arts Department Wall of Fame in 2012. He was a board member of The Linsly School and also Wheeling Country Day School.

Nutting served on the West Virginia University Foundation Board of Directors in the 1960s and then later, from 1988-2008. A former member of the Visiting Committee of the West Virginia University School of Journalism, he was instrumental in establishing the Ogden Newspapers and Nutting Family Journalism Endowment Scholarship Fund for juniors and seniors studying print media. Ogden Newspapers and the Nutting family also created the West Virginia University Journalism Library Endowment Fund, the Ogden Newspapers Seminar Series, the Ogden Newspapers Multimedia Classroom and the Ogden Newspapers Endowed Visiting Professor position, held for a decade by the late Dr. George Esper.

In 1996, Nutting was recognized for his service to West Virginia University and the state of West Virginia when he received the Most Loyal West Virginian Award. In 1998, he was honored with West Virginia University’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award for “exceptional leadership in the state and nation.” Honored again in 2000 by West Virginia University, Nutting received the first Paul A. Atkins Friend of the Journalism School Award. He was inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from the university.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Nutting regularly was found at local sports events. A skilled tennis player and enthusiast of skiing, he regularly skied at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort along with other ski areas across the country and was twice chronicled in Ski Magazine.

He founded the original Wheeling Junior Soccer Club and also was a founding officer of the Wheeling Ironmen professional football team.

He also was involved in endeavors outside of Wheeling. In 1996, Nutting joined with Kevin McClatchy’s partnership group to ensure the Pittsburgh Pirates remained in Pittsburgh. He later worked with McClatchy to help design and open PNC Park in 2001.