Dr. Paul Emmett Nesselroad, 94 passed away Saturday, June 30, 2018. He was born in Sedan Kansas, February 19, 1924 to Minnie Mae and Israel Nesselroad. Paul was predeceased by his brother, Warren and wife Floretta Nesselroad. He is survived by his: wife, Joanna Strosnider Nesselroad (married on July 3, 1947); children and their spouses, Karina and Richard Gray of Romney, Mark R. and Peggy Nesselroad of Morgantown; grandchildren and their spouses, Kimberly and Lt. Colonel John Moltz of Fort Benning, GA., Jennifer and Matt Fitzwater of Louisville, KY, Mark J. and Lauren Nesselroad of Morgantown, WV, Erica and Niko Medved of Fort Collins, CO; and great-grandchildren, Henry and Charlotte Moltz, Joel and Isaac Fitzwater, Logan and Elle Nesselroad, and Alexa Medved.
Paul lived in Kansas and Oklahoma until 1936, when his family returned to the family farm in Jackson County, WV. He was a graduate of Ravenswood High School, where he was an active member of the Ravenswood FFA and the chapter’s first recipient of the State Farmer Degree. Paul won The WV State FFA Public Speaking Contest in 1940 and was second in the North Atlantic Regional Contest. He was elected to the WV State FFA Offices of Secretary, Vice President, and President. In 1940, he enrolled at West Virginia University and then enlisted in the army in 1943. Paul returned to WVU and graduated in 1947 with a B.S. in Vocational Agriculture.
He began his teaching career in Vocational Agriculture in Hampshire and Jackson counties; the Hampshire program had been discontinued during the war years, so Paul began the program anew. He is also credited with revitalizing Romney’s local FFA chapter. In 1950, he returned to WVU to begin work on his M.S. degree in Agriculture Economics, which he completed in 1955. During the time, in 1954, he was appointed a Research Assistant in Farm Management at WVU and served in that capacity until 1960, when he began pursuit of his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Pennsylvania State University. In 1963, Paul once again returned to WVU and was appointed Assistant Professor in Farm Management. He received his Ph.D. from PSU in 1969 and, in 1971, he was promoted to Associate Professor at WVU. By 1976, Paul was Professor of Agricultural Economics at WVU. While teaching at WVU, he conducted extensive research on the broiler industry during the 1950s. In the 1960s, Paul pioneered the introduction of computers into agricultural economics at WVU. His work continued in the 1970s and 1980s, as he conducted research on large scale dairy farms in WV, beef farms, and mechanical apple harvesters.
Paul served in various capacities at WVU, including the Mountainlair Advisory Council, the University Faculty Welfare Committee, and Chairman of the University Athletic Council. He was a member of Alpha Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Phi, and the American Agricultural Economics Association. He was awarded the WVU teacher of the year in 1974, FFA Honorary State Farmer in 1981, and Gamma Sigma Delta Senior Faculty Member Certificate of Merit in 1985. He served as Chairman of the Department of Agricultural Economics from 1983, until he retired from WVU in 1989 with the rank of Professor Emeritus.
Paul’s civic contributions included Chairman of the Monongalia County Commission’s 4-H Camp Committee, Scoutmaster for two rural Boy Scout troops, numerous church programs, and many local public boards and commissions. Paul was awarded the Carroll Greene Award in 2010, as Supervisor of the Year for the West Virginia Soil Conservation Districts. He was elected to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame in 2015. The General Board of the Discipleship of the United Methodist Church awarded him the Cross and Flame Award for his work with children and youth. He was a Mason, a member of the Cheat Lake Public Service District, former member of the Monongalia County Planning Commission, and a member of the West Run Watershed and Advisory Planning Committees. He was an elected Supervisor of the Monongahela Soil Conservation District and, in 2004, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for 20 years of service to the West Run Watershed Improvement Board.
Paul was an avid gardener in his own right and maintained a sincere interest in West Virginia’s agriculture and its rural people; he actively served as a student, teacher, researcher, and leader. Further, Paul was a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and a devout member of the Suncrest United Methodist Church. Paul continued his legacy of service by willing his body to medical science.
A memorial service in his honor will be held at Noon on Friday, July 6 at Suncrest United Methodist Church (479 Van Voorhis Road, Morgantown, WV 26505). Memorials may be given in the name of Paul Nesselroad to the WVU Foundation Eye Institute at 1 Medical Center Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505. The family wishes to thank the staff of Mapleshire Nursing and Rehab Center for their compassionate care, as well as all his family and friends.