The Times West Virginian

Local News

February 3, 2014

Twins Fred and Leo DeMary are closest of friends

RIVESVILLE — You can tell Fred and Leo DeMary are twin brothers.

They were born on March 20, 1923, and will soon be celebrating their 91st birthdays.

Time and tide have only brought the brothers closer together. Fred and Leo are the best of friends. Ask one of them to tell you a story, and the other will inevitably chime in, teasing and joking.

Born in Monongah, Fred and Leo moved to Rivesville with their mom, dad and two brothers in the 1930s. Their dad had been working in the mines in Monongah.

“Then they started laying people off, and he decided he’d go into the grocery store business,” Fred said.

His father hired some carpenters, and he and his four sons got to work building DeMary’s Market, now a Rivesville institution. The store has been around since 1938.

“I was 15 years old the first day,” Fred said.

After he’d been working a few years at the store, World War II broke out, and all four brothers joined the armed forces. Fred went to Europe, Johnny was in the Pacific and Joe was in Alaska. Soon after joining, Leo was sent home because of a knee injury.

“I got home, and Mother and Dad needed help with the store,” Leo said. He helped out while his brothers were serving.

“And after the war was over, we came back, and my dad and mother wanted to retire from the store,” Fred said. “So they said, ‘Well, you boys want to take over?’ And we said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take over!’”

They took over around 1945. They decided to add something to the business, and started delivering. Their customers were mainly coal miners and farmers back then.

“We delivered all over this part of the country,” Fred said. “We had a big delivery truck, and besides the groceries, we sold feed and anything a farmer could use.”

They delivered up to 40 miles away from the store.

Their mom, Nancy, decided the store could use a deli, so she started one. DeMary’s Market still has its deli, where they serve hot dogs, meatball hoagies and hot sausage hoagies.

The hot sausage is their specialty. Richard DeMary, Fred’s son, runs the store now, and he still makes them from the family recipe.

“Around Christmas time, it’s hard to keep up,” Fred said. “Everybody wants it for the holidays.”

Fred said his favorite part about running the store was getting to talk to all of the people who came in.

“There were a lot of interesting people. Older people I liked to talk to,” Fred said. “It was educational, you know, to talk to older people.”

Fred said that the people who come into the store are different now. Fewer coal miners and farmers, although plenty of local people stop by.

“And right now, we get a lot of out-of-town people come down because of the meat and all,” Fred said. “We have all kinds of meat. Pork chops, steak, chicken, ground chuck, spare ribs, ham. Just about anything in a meat line.”

Fred and Leo said that running the store was a solid choice for them and their two brothers.

“Four of us brothers made a living out of that store. Can you think about that? And raised a family!” Leo said.

Leo, John, Joe and Fred all married. Leo, John and Joe each had two kids, while Fred had five, three girls and two boys.

Leo and Fred love to tell stories about their younger years.

“Fred can tell you a little story about when we were dating girls,” Leo said, with a conspiratorial grin.

“He stole my girlfriend!” Fred said.

“Yeah, I did,” Leo said with a laugh.

When they were in high school, Fred had a row boat and his brother owned a car, a 1932 Ford Model B.

“So I had a date with this girl, and I said, ‘Now, I’m going to take you on the river tonight. There’s going to be a full moon, and we’re going to go out for a boat ride,’” Fred said. He didn’t have a way to transport the boat, so he had to oar down from the store to a bridge, and told her he would meet her there.

“But when I got down there, she wasn’t there!” Fred said. “He’d come by in his car, and picked her up!”

“Boy, he was ready to beat me,” Leo laughed. “She said, ‘I’m waiting on Fred.’ I said, ‘He’ll never get that boat down here. Come on; jump in the car. I’ll take you out and get you some ice cream.’”

“He was the only one who had a car,” Fred said.

“Yeah, I used to get all of the girls,” Leo said.

The brothers could be quite a handful for their mother at times.

“Mother ran the store, and raised four kids,” Leo said. “She had her hands full! She was a strong woman, though. She was a New Yorker.”

When their mom was pregnant with Fred and Leo, she didn’t know she was going to have twins.

“The doctor came to the house,” Fred said. “Leo was born first, and Dad was getting ready to leave, and the doctor said, ‘Now wait a minute! I think we’ve got another one here!’”

Fred laughed.

“That was me!” he said.

Nowadays, the brothers may not be working full time any longer, but they still keep busy.

“There’s always something to do, isn’t there, Fred?” Leo said. “Fred’s got the boat docks up here and keeps busy there. And there’s a lot to do around the house.”

“I help Richard out at the store, and work a few hours a day,” Fred said. “Keep busy, you know. Something to do.”

DeMary’s Market has been around for three generations, and celebrated its 75th year last year.

Fred and Leo will soon be celebrating their 91st year on March 30.

“We have a birthday coming up! We’re only going to be 91, Fred,” Leo said, laughing.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Chamber hosts adult education event

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce helped local adults find new opportunities through its Beyond the Backyard adult education event Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Fairmont man pleads guilty to sexual assault, burglary

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.

    July 29, 2014

  • Car in standing water.JPG Sunday’s storm left standing water, flooding

     Residents and emergency crews continued to clean up the mess Monday from Sunday evening’s storms.
    Mark Paquette, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said Sunday’s storm brought heavy rain to the area. He said the worst of the weather for the week happened Sunday.
    For the rest of the week’s forecast, Paquette said the area should expect more rain this week but nothing to be concerned with.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Some county schools offer free lunch, breakfast

    They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
    That’s not really true, at least for students at Monongah, East Park and Watson elementary schools, thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision.
    The program is part of President Barack Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and allows all students at those schools to eat breakfast and lunch for free, regardless of their families’ yearly income.
    A school can use the program if 40 percent or more of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch as of the 2012-13 academic year.

    July 29, 2014

  • GAYLE MANCHIN SPEAKING -TS.jpg Manchin: Common Core ‘politicized’

     The state didn’t do a very good job of “telling the story” of Common Core standards, state school board president Gayle Manchin said Monday morning, which opened the door for an onslaught of public and administrative criticism of something few understand.
    And when you don’t tell your story, Manchin explained, someone else is sure to and they may not get it right. And that’s what she believes has happened with the message of Common Core — inaccurate social media posts, online petitions against the standards, pages dedicated to protesting them.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • GregoryDuckworth3823274.jpg Morgantown man arrested for rape of girl, 12

     A Morgantown man has been arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old girl in Marion County.
    Gregory Paul Duckworth, 24, of Morgantown, was taken into custody by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department on Friday and has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse.
    Detective Jeannette Williamson said on July 24, a 13-year-old female revealed in a Child Advocacy Center interview that on May 3, 2013, she was forced to have sex with Duckworth.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Monongah water plant receives positive report

    The Town of Monongah’s water plant has received a positive report — with no violations — from the state.
    On June 17, the water plant underwent its annual inspection by the state. Because of a loss of people that the water system serves, due to population drop with people moving away, Monongah was not required to collect as many samples for the recent inspection, said Bill McCombs, councilman and operator for the town’s water plant.

    July 29, 2014

  • Some county schools offer free lunch, breakfast

    They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    July 28, 2014

  • Boil-water notice lifted

    The boil-water notice issued for School Street in Barrackville and surrounding areas has been lifted.

    July 28, 2014

  • Monongah water plant receives positive report

    The Town of Monongah’s water plant has received a positive report — with no violations — from the state.

    July 28, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads