Violet Gadd Coonts

This obituary was found in the The Inter-Mountain News Elkins, WV, January 2007

Violet Gadd Coonts, formerly of Buckhannon, died Jan. 18, 2007, in Friends Nursing Home in Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, Md.

She was born Sept. 23, 1913, at Charleston, the daughter of the late Lundy John Gadd and Vada Cart Gadd.

On July 15, 1941, she was married to Gilbert Gray Coonts, a local attorney of the law firm of Hymes and Coonts, who predeceased her.

Mrs. Coonts was a graduate of Charleston High School and West Virginia University. She also attended Mason School of Fine Art, Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston). While a teacher for more than 25 years in Kanawha and Upshur County high schools, she also served as advisor to the yearbook and newspaper at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. In 1963, she was awarded a journalism scholarship to Penn State University by the Wall Street Journal. During her last several years at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, she taught art, which was her life-long hobby. An artist all of her adult life, she went on to teach creative expression at West Virginia Wesleyan College for three years after leaving Buckhannon-Upshur High School. She was also a teacher of oil painting in the local adult education program. Mrs. Coonts had "one woman shows" at the University Medical Center, Gibson Memorial Library, Stonewall Jackson Library and West Virginia Wesleyan College. Mrs. Coonts moved to Buckhannon in 1948 when her late husband entered the practice of law as an associate of the late Myron B. Hymes. She resided on Highland Drive from 1954 until 1998 when she moved to Howard County, Md., to be closer to her sons. Mrs. Coonts was active in the local community and was a member of the First United Methodist Church and of the United Methodist Women. She was also a life member of the National Education Association and a member of the Buckhannon PEO, where she served as secretary. She was a member and past president of the Alumni Chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta of West Virginia Wesleyan College. She belonged to the Upshur County Visual Arts Guild, was a member of Eastern Star and a charter member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Coonts was well-known locally as an artist who loved to paint seascapes, flower studies and landscapes. She also was recognized as a portrait painter. Many of her paintings are owned by local residents and several of her portrait paintings are on display at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She faithfully entered the Strawberry Festival Art Exhibit for many years and was a strong proponent of educating people of all ages about the beauty and inspiration of art. Over the years, she received several "first place" and "best of show" awards in various West Virginia art exhibits.

Mrs. Coonts is survived by her two sons, Stephen Coonts of Colorado Springs, Colo., and John Coonts of Fulton, Md.; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home in Buckhannon. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Damon Rhodes and the Rev. Dr. Charles Godwin officiating. Interment will follow in Lambert Chapel Cemetery near Belington. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Violet to First United Methodist Church, 52 S. Florida St., Buckhannon, W.Va. 26201. Online condolences may be sent to the family at Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Note: Violet Coonts was the author of the book Western Waters.

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