The West Virginia Coal Festival Planning Committee has chosen Manuel Pete Arvon as the Grand Marshall for the 2014 West Virginia Coal Festival.
Manuel was born in 1929 in Charleston, WV to Pete and Beulah Arvon of Tenedos, Greece. They settled in Whitesville and became American citizens in 1928.
Manuel attended Whitesville School from first through ninth grades then attended Sherman High School where he played basketball and football. He graduated in 1948.
In 1949, Manuel attended Bright’s Floral Design School in Chicago where he learned the art of floristry. Upon his return to Whitesville, he and his parents opened Arvon’s Floral and Gift Shoppe. Beginning in 1951, he served his country in the United States Navy for 4 years during the Korean Conflict. After being discharged, Manuel studied Business Administration and Education at Morris Harvey College (now University of Charleston). He then completed his Masters in Educational Administration at Marshall University.
Manuel taught Business and American History to high school students for two years. After spending one year as Principal of Wharton, he served as Principal at Sherman High School for 11 years. He was then appointed Assistant Superintendent and later Superintendent of Boone County Schools. He retired in 1995. He also served as Mayor of Sylvester for 14 years.
Currently, Manuel is the owner and Manager of Arvon’s Floral and Gift Shoppe in Whitesville. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Boone-Raleigh Public Service District and is Trustee of the Sylvester Baptist Church.
In 1951 Manuel married his high school sweetheart, Lois Jean Vickers. They are the parents of Manny, Mark, and Matthew; the grandparents of Matt, Trey, Justin, Vic, Kendra, Chase, and Kara; and the great-grandparents of Braylon and Addie.