MEET A WOMAN PIONEER FROM PLAINS DISTRICT
This series of articles will introduce you to some of the women included in our current exhibit who led the way in expanding the role of women into areas previously dominated by men.
MARIE CATHERINE COFFMAN “Nutty” WHETZEL
PIONEER IN MILITARY SERVICE
Born in Timberville VA, Marie “Nut” Whetzel was one of seven children born to Granville C. and Ada Kline Coffman Whetzel. When her father, who nicknamed her “Nut”, died, Marie left school in Timberville to help her mother. Those who knew her remember Marie as a small woman with plenty of energy. She learned two skills which she used throughout her life—how to be a waitress and, from her brother, how to drive a truck.
In the late 1930’s Marie moved to Wilmington DE where she worked as a waitress. When WW II broke out, she answered an ad to join the Highway Command, an all-female military unit which picked up new trucks at the manufacturers and drove them in convoys to army or naval military bases. According to Marie, her longest trip during the three years that she served was to St. Augustine, FL.
Returning to Timberville, Marie continued to work as a waitress until she was 93 years old. During her life, she worked at Garber’s Restaurant in Timberville, and later at Belle Meade and Pano’s in Harrisonburg.
In 1951, Marie married Simon Howard Whetzel and had two sons, Rooney, and Carl (Dusty). With her two sons, she shared a love of “fast cars” and travel. She was a member of Valley Cruisers, Weekend Warriors, and a fan of Street Rodding. Marie continued to race her 1937 Ford until she was 98 years old, winning numerous trophies as the oldest rodder.
Aside from her racing, Marie loved gardening and chickens. Her favorite was a rooster named “Barney.” She also found time to serve as President of the Timberville Fire Department and as a special events volunteer at the Plains District Memorial Museum.
Marie “Nut” Whetzel died May 23, 2018. While services were held at the Broadway Presbyterian Church, Marie was buried in Timberville at the Church of the Brethren Cemetery. She was 99 years old.
PLAINS DISTRICT MEMORIAL MUSEUM WELCOMES THE NEW YEAR With a new exhibit coming in January:
“Welcome to Western Plains District”
A pictorial history of the area from Cootes Stores to Criders including general stores, churches, mills, clinics, schools and more.
SUNDAY, JAN. 23 AT 2 PM
A talk on the history of the area by Local historian and a native of Fulks Run PAT TURNER RITCHIE Plains District Memorial Museum Carpenter Community Meeting Room.