• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


Tribute to Leona Lynch Kessel


Leona Lynch - 1950


Leona Lynch was born in 1909, to John C. Lynch and Cora Lynch of Hillsdale, Monroe County, West Virginia.  Her father died when she was three years old, leaving her mother Cora to care for her and her one year old brother.

Miss Lynch attended Monroe County public schools and graduated from Union High School.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Marshall College and received her master’s degree in social studies from West Virginia University.  The “War between the States in Monroe County” was the topic for her master’s thesis.  Leona’s father, John Lynch, joined the Monroe Guards (one of the companies that formed the Twenty Seventh Virginia Regiment) and was wounded at First Manassas, Virginia on June 21, 1861.  He was 66 years of age when Leona was born.  Leona’s career in education began as a social studies teacher at Union High School and continued throughout the 1930’s, 1940’s and early 1950’s.

In 1953, at the age of 44, Leona married Charles Kessel.  Her students were so happy for her that they pooled their money and bought her a generous wedding gift.

Leona Lynch Kessel in 1954


She left Monroe County and continued her teaching career at Ripley High School in Jackson County and Huntington East High School.  She retired in 1969 and returned to Monroe County.  In her later years, a steady procession of former students visited her, many of them already retired.  With eyes sparkling, she never failed to remember them and loved to recount tales of their days as students at Union High School and elsewhere.  She devoted her life to giving each student the type of education which would allow them to pursue their goals. Leona Lynch Kessel died on July 29, 1998 at the age of 89.

In 2007, the Monroe County Education Foundation  announced the Leona Lynch Kessel Memorial Scholarship endowed by her stepson, Charles Kessel, Jr.   The scholarship aims to carry on Mrs. Kessel’s life-long commitment to education by funding scholarships for high school students from Monroe County who demonstrate both financial need and academic ability.  The scholarship will be awarded each year as a renewable scholarship for four years.   It is hoped that this scholarship will serve as an ongoing echo of a life passionately dedicated to teaching and learning.