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Coonskin Park monument honors mother of donor

Bob Wojcieszak
Kanawha County Parks Comptroller Sarah Menefee stands next to the latest addition to the Coonskin Park driving range, a six-ton monument dedicated to the memory of Frances P. Jordon, who is the mother of Andrew Jordon, the owner and operator of Pritchard Mining who donated money and time to build the course.

Kanawha County commissioners wanted to make sure they said "thank you" to a local businessman and his family for their work building the new driving range and golf learning center at Coonskin Park.

The token of appreciation was big - six tons to be exact.

The large monument was unveiled Tuesday evening in honor of the late Frances P. Jordon, mother of Pritchard Mining owner and operator Andrew Jordon.

The monument, which is a chunk of limestone painted with a high gloss black enamel to make it look like coal, came from one of Andrew's mines in the Paint Creek area, said Sarah Menefee, Kanawha County parks and recreation comptroller.  

Andrew worked tirelessly to make the center a reality, Commission President Kent Carper said.

"Everyone was incredibly touched by the generosity of the Jordon family," Carper said. "So we believed we needed to do something big to thank them."

On the stone is a plaque depicting a golf ball on a tee. Inside the golf ball is a picture of Frances, whom the learning center is named for. She died of natural causes July 24 at the age of 82.

Andrew Jordon is a native of Charleston who graduated from George Washington High School. He has done a number of things for the community, usually anonymously or in the name of the Friends of Coal.

His mother's love of children moved him to donate his time to create the center, he said Wednesday. Programs will be held there to teach children how to play golf, as well as life values such as confidence, perseverance and good judgment.  

"My mom took in generations of kids before me and after I grew up," Andrew said. "She was very kind."

He said he was surprised and honored to have the facility named for his mother. He recently stopped in at the center to check on progress and was surprised to see the monument.

One of Andrew's staff members handled the project; he had no idea about the monument until he saw it.  

"I'm not surprised often, but the monument to my mom did surprise me," he said. "I'm very proud of it."  

The county paid for the plaque, which was made by Fastsigns in Spring Hill, Carper said. The price was about $5,000, which doesn't come close to the amount of money Jordon invested in the center, Carper said.

Carper couldn't say exactly how much time and money Andrew spent, but he said the monetary value is easily seven figures.

"They never asked to be thanked, they never solicited it and they didn't expect it," Carper said.

The road to the center cost at least $80,000, Carper said, adding that Andrew tackled that part of the project with no urging from anyone.

"He went up there one day and thought it wasn't done right, so he decided to do it over," Carper said.  

Commission staffers worked on coming up with an idea to thank the Jordon family. Carper said his only contribution was to request that the thank you "be big."  

The monument sits near the parking lot for the center. It is surrounded by smaller chunks of real coal and crushed glass obtained from the Kanawha County recycling center in Charleston, said Gary Duncan, parks and recreation maintenance superintendent.

"It looks really nice," he said.

The large stone was installed at the facility sometime in late June when Duncan was on vacation. It sits in concrete to keep it from tipping over, Duncan said.

Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Hutchinson brought the stone to the site on a trailer pulled by a truck.

Contact writer Paul Fallon at paul.fallon@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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