P. J. Zickefoose Fund

TYPE OF FUND:  Field of Interest                DATE ESTABLISHED:  January 2006

PURPOSE:  To provide skiing opportunities for youth who otherwise could not financially participate in this sport.

DISTRIBUTION:  Upon the recommendation by the Grants Committee and approval by the full Board of Directors of TCF, grants will be made to youth, (up to age 19) for skiing events or equipment from Tucker and Randolph counties on a rotating basis, to honor his residency and practice in both counties.  Because all grants must be awarded to or through a non-profit organization, all those seeking a Zickefoose grant will do so by submitting a grant through their respective school administrator.  The school administrator does not have the authority to make decisions regarding the recipient of the grant, therefore immediately after the TCF deadline for grant applications, the school administrator will present the applications to the Grants Committee of TCF.

VARIANCE POWER:  If, in the judgment of the TCF Board of Directors, the restrictions and conditions of the fund become unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community, the TCF Board of Directors maintains the right to modify the terms of this fund. 

FUNDING:  An initial donation of $10,000 from his parents, Paul and Barbara Lewis Zickefoose and memorial donations by friends and family.  

BACKGROUND:  P.J. Zickefoose was born in Elkins, WV, on January 15, 1971, the only child of Paul and Barbara Lewis Zickefoose.  His given name was Dennis Paul, but his parents had referred to him as “P.J.”   The nickname continued throughout his life.  From the time he was quite small, P.J. loved the out-of-doors, hunting, fishing, tying his own flies, all types of motor bikes, and skiing.  He loved Canaan Valley, and built a home and lived there until his marriage.  His mother said P.J. considered Canaan Valley “…so very special…incredible.”  He was on the Canaan Valley Ski Patrol, and enjoyed biking.

A 1989 graduate of Elkins High School, he majored in biology at Fairmont State College, completed West Virginia University Dental School, and continued at WVU for another year in order to learn anesthesiology.  His love of medicine is at least partially accredited to a neighbor, the late Dr. Paul Snedeger, with whom P.J. spent many hours during his early teen years.  During and immediately following his years in dental school, P.J. worked at Monongalia General Hospital and Ruby Memorial Hospital, both in Morgantown, WV, and the Veterans’ Hospital in Clarksburg, WV.  He completed the rural residency requirement in Davis, near Canaan Valley, with the late Dr. Tom Patrick whom he grew to love.

During his six years in Davis, P.J. was to learn that Dr. Patrick had developed Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”).  As Dr. Patrick lost use of his limbs he asked P.J. to “…be my arms and legs, throw my children in the air”.  Dr. Patrick’s death, his mother said, broke P.J.’s heart.  Although he had known he wanted to have a career in medicine, he always knew he wanted time to be outdoors to enjoy his hobbies.  With this in mind, Dr. Patrick arranged P.J.’s hours so he could ski during the morning house, and then come to work at noon and continue through the evening hours in the dental office.  A year prior to his death, Dr. Zickefoose established his own dental practice in Elkins.

March 10, 2003, P.J. married the former Michelle Large, a nurse anesthetist at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins.  Just nine months later, Dec. 27, 2003, P.J. died in a single vehicle accident on Rt. 219, near Elkins.  He was scheduled to be in the wedding of a cousin, Chris Cutright, and had stayed after the wedding rehearsal to help set up the hall for the reception.  As he left for home, his Jeep hit black ice and overturned.  He died instantly.

In addition to his parents, P.J. Zickefoose was survived by his wife and maternal grandmother, Mildred Lewis of Buckhannon, WV.  His wife has since remarried to Edgar Watring, a Tucker County resident.  His mother is postmaster in Montrose, his father is retired.