Board member Thaw passes
by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON – Long time Kanawha County school board member Pete Thaw has passed away, according to the superintendent and other board members.
Board member Becky Jordon said she and fellow members learned of Thaw’s death shortly after midnight today.
Thaw, who played a leading role in state political circles for many years, began serving on the non-partisan board of education in 1998. Members and friends said he had been ill for some time, often attending meetings by telephone rather than in person. Jordon said, however, that Thaw had attended several recent meetings and appeared to be in good spirits.
In politics, Thaw may have been best known for his role in then-U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy’s win in the 1960 West Virginia Democrat presidential primary. Thaw was known throughout his service with various branches of government as loyal and dedicated.
His calling card as a school board member, though, was that he often stood up to the majority on issues, primarily financial concerns. Jordon summarized, “When I met him, I didn’t like him. I thought he was such an angry old guy. But the more I worked with him, I didn’t always agree with him, but I saw he was loyal and when he said something he stood by it.”
Jordon said she and Thaw eventually became friends. “There were times where I’d leave a board meeting and didn’t vote with him but always left knowing that Pete Thaw was my friend — which was more important to me.”
School Superintendent Ron Duerring added, “Pete has been fighting for this county’s school system and its students for nearly two decades and he will be remembered for his strength, tenacity and courage to stand up for what he believed in – and what he believed was best for each Kanawha County Schools student.”
“His departure is a true loss and we honor his years of service to this community and its children.”
Funeral arrangements are not yet available.