Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 15, 2014

Jackie Oblinger

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WYTHEVILLE, Va. — Jackie Oblinger, formerly of Bluefield and Charleston, died Friday, February 14, 2014 in Wytheville, VA.

Jackie was born Jacquelyn Mae Pero on September 16, 1928 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, to Rachel and John (Jack) Pero. She moved to Bluefield, VA in high school and spent the rest of her life in West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.

She married John Oblinger in 1947, who remained the love of her life for 66 years. She had three boys, Michael, Phillip and Mark who, while they might have given her a tad bit of trouble from time to time, did make something of themselves and in so doing made her proud beyond words.

In the mid 1950’s, she co-chaired the March of Dimes quest to wipe out polio in Virginia and West Virginia. She proudly gave one of the first Salk vaccines to her son as an initial step in wiping out the dreaded disease forever. He might have cried a bit, but never had polio. Nor did thousands of others.

Shortly after this, she began a career in radio and then TV. She was a pioneer in live TV in West Virginia and for women in TV everywhere, a whole generation ahead of Oprah. Her career spanned over 25 years in Bluefield and then Charleston during which time she interviewed live the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Liberace and Johnny Mathis, but was just as happy to showcase local high school choirs or regional artist. She has been recognized by the West Virginia Broadcasters Hall of Fame as one of the most influential TV personalities in the history of West Virginia. For thousands of folks, the playing of “Sleigh Ride” at Christmas still means one thing: “Jackie’s Gift Parade.”

She loved helping young people grow into their futures and spent countless hours with the young women of the Union Mission in Charleston. She chaperoned many Miss West Virginias to the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. Later in her second career, she taught at West Virginia Career College in Charleston and then for 19 years at Bluefield College where she continued to influence the lives of young people who remember her to this day.

Among her many awards, she was selected the West Virginia Daughter of the Year in 1959.

She loved the beach at her “2nd home” in North Myrtle Beach where she took her last trip, as well as sitting in the sun at her pool, enjoying her pets and collecting vintage costume jewelry. Chocolate was her friend and banana splits were both gifts from heaven and occasionally lunch. She was fond of singing “Hey Look Me Over” whenever the mood struck her.

She also greatly loved her 7 grandchildren, Leigh, Ashley, Holly, Anne, Elizabeth, Amy and Emily, and one great-grandson, Camden. One of the highlights of her last years was getting to see Camden run the halls of Carrington Place in Wytheville, where she spent her last three years. She was loved there immensely and well by that community.

Those who live on to cherish her memory include her husband, her sons and their spouses, Barbara Cline Oblinger and Erin Halloran Oblinger, all her grandchildren and her great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter-in-law, Martha Addington Oblinger.

A service to celebrate Jackie’s life will be held Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Bluefield, WV. Burial will follow in the Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Princeton, WV.

Friends may visit with the family Sunday, February 16, 2014 from 5-8 p.m. at Dudley Memorial Mortuary, Bluefield, VA

 Dudley Memorial is serving the Oblinger family.