The Times West Virginian

Local News

March 31, 2014

Rosie Tennant loves to help others

FAIRVIEW — Rosie Tennant has been busy her whole life.

From working in her father’s Fairview grocery store to owning her own hairdressing business and volunteering, Tennant is still consistently active and working.

“It’s not work. It’s just fun,” Tennant said.

When Tennant was less than 2 years old, her father moved to Fairview and opened up his own grocery store. The Tennant children began working in the grocery store as soon as they could.

“I stood on a box to work the register,” Tennant said.

The children did everything in the store. They scrubbed shelves, ran registers, packed handbills and packaged potatoes.

When Tennant graduated from high school, she attended cosmetology school in Morgantown. While there, she and a friend lived on Grant Avenue in a dorm.

She spent a year as an apprentice in Fairmont. After an apprenticeship, Tennant opened up her own business in Fairview. She worked there for 50 years.

While working in her own business, Rosie got married to Beryl in May of 1965. She had two children.

“In between the children, my husband and I went to school,” Tennant said.

The Tennants became emergency medical technicians and joined the Fairview Fire Department.

Tennant says she was an EMT for 28 years before retiring, but she is not quite retired.

“I am a member of the Lady’s Auxillary for the Fairview Fire Department,” Tennant said. “I have been the president twice.”

In this group, Tennant and other ladies help fundraisers for the Fairview Fire Department. She helps cook during fundraisers and says it’s about the hardest thing she does nowadays.

At 61 years old, Tennant went back to school for a second time. She was still working as a hairdresser.

“My husband said, ‘Are you nuts?’” Tennant said. “He did not mind, really.”

Tennant says she attended the weekend courses to become a massage therapist. She occasionally still works as a massage therapist.

Tennant has spent nearly four decades volunteering. These years have occupied her entire retired life.

“I just enjoy helping people,” Tennant said. “I volunteered my whole life to think about. It is OK, because it’s what I like to do.”

After 14 years of researching, Tennant wrote a book titled “The Story of Fairview. “The book was not written like many other books.

“I did a lot of research in the older yearbooks,” Tennant said. “The majority of the information came from the people in town who were there when it happened.”

The book contains photos, letters and information gathered from these sources. She interviewed a 105-year-old woman for some of the information. She considered it her way of giving back.

“I just wanted to do something for Fairview,” Tennant said. “I’m not done yet.”

Tennant says she is working on another book about Fairview’s baseball and basketball championships.

Despite being retired, Tennant says no one tells her to slow down.

“I cannot slow down,” Tennant said. “I am full of energy. I can rest at night.”

Tennant spends her “retirement” days following her grandchildren in sports, keep the family-owned carwash clean and playing piano.

Tennant often travels with to her grandchildren’s sporting events. While there, she does her best to not only support her family but to also support the sport programs. She will film games for the teams if asked.

Tennant has volunteered her time to the coach’s family before.

“I have gone to people’s home and taught them how to make spaghetti and meatballs from scratch,” Tennant said. “It was (for) the basketball coach's wife.”

Tennant’s children and grandchildren participated in a variety of sports. Her oldest granddaughter was all-state in basketball.

“We are big sports fans,” Tennant said. “I am a big West Virginia University fan, too!”

Tennant plans on attending the WVU football game versus Alabama game next fall.

“I have a cabin, too,” Tennant said. “That is another hobby I have; I love to cook out.”

Tennant worked for the late Ronald Baker Funeral home and currently works for Domico Funeral Home as a hairdresser.

Tennant is also a member of the Women’s Society at St. Peter’s Church.

When Tennant has free time, she plays piano.

Tennant’s parents are Albert and Mary Bell. Her late husband Beryl Tennant and she were married for nearly 50 years. Beryl and Rosie worked as EMTs together for 28 years.

Tennant attributes her parents and husband for giving her the work ethic and drive to give back to the community and stay active.

“I love it. It’s great,” Tennant said. “It keeps me young.”

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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