Wheeling native Pidge Fleming is the daughter of Robert and Gene Biery. Her father was one of the Wheeling Park Commission’s first full-time employees. Pidge has been playing golf since she was 18 months old, “Dad cut down a set of clubs; he was on one side, mom on the other. They hired a photographer to document the occasion. It took 18 strokes to finish the hole,” Pidge retells with a smile.
The family spent their early years in Shepherd’s Cottage, just above the Crispin Course’s first tee. “I had the greatest childhood. Oglebay lifeguards taught me to swim; evenings spent playing golf, and my own pony to ride all over the park.”
Later moving to Woodsdale, Pidge graduated from Mt. De Chantal in 1952. She went to work for Wheeling Steel, “as what they used to call a secretary.” There she met her husband, Dick. After 20 years, she went to work for Ohio County Schools first at the Board of Education (BOE), then for Triadelphia and Wheeling Park High Schools. With golf always a constant in her downtime, Pidge “left the BOE office for the schools because I got two more weeks of summer play.”
Always finding time for the links at Oglebay and Wheeling Park, Pidge and Dick extended their playtime with trips to Myrtle Beach. Starting in 1962, they played an amazing 90 out of the 100 courses in the area before Dick’s passing in 1996. Pidge, who retired in 1997, says her record is playing 43 holes in one day!
Today, at 87 years young, Pidge remains active in both the Women’s Golf Associations for Oglebay and Wheeling Park and plays up to four times a week. “Dick and I were able to travel extensively. In all our years we never found a better place for a family to come together and enjoy everything the park has to offer.”
Pidge has included the Oglebay Foundation as a beneficiary of her estate. “Oglebay’s always been good to me. I’ve lived here all my life. It is an honor to have the opportunity to give back.”